My company is preparing to do a survey of the water utility infrastructure for a small village on an island, on lake Titicaca in Bolivia. What would be the best starting place for a template to use for gathering the data using a data collector. Would the local govt model for utilities be a good starting place or is there something else that would be better. Our task is to gather data about the population, their water sources and infrastructure if any. We will also be scouting out potential sites to build a purification center for the town. In the end I expect to provide the Bolivian government several maps showing all of the data we've collected, just not sure where to start with a database.
The data models may be a good starting point, however I would also consider the following aspects/questions:
- End user experience, what level are they at with using GIS and databases? Many of the data models have components such as feature datasets, domains, and table relates. Does the end user understand all of this or will training be necessary?
- What do you need to collect, how is this similar or different from the data model table schemas? In some cases you may need more or less than the data model provides. How does this relate to the current needs of the project and the future potential needs?
You have asked a good question - I think the templates are useful but in many ways getting down to the bare bones is the best. The templates will have many attributes and relationships that you probably won't end up using and if you do use them you might waste time filling in data that you don't really need.
The best advice I can give is to find a company or person who has done almost the exact project and can give you their experience and possibly their features and feature attribute templates. If you can't do that then work backwards and find out what information you specifically need to design a purification system correctly or any other end-product this data will be used for.
Our company did a program like this and started with parts of an ESRI template and three years later when the organization got ready to use the data we provided they couldn't use it because we had not kept it topologically correct and also we had intentionally held off (until later field verification with a different project) inputting one specific attribute that was necessary for the hydraulic model.
We fixed the problem but it would have been really nice to know the exact end-use requirements all along and we could have maintained them throughout the project.