In this article, we will explain how the version 1.x of Giswater can help the engineers and consulting firms to design better water supply, sewerage and urban drainage networks master plans.

The advantages that you can obtain with Giswater are various but basically they are synthesized as a productivity and quality increase that offers an adecuated use of the tool. The fact that it permits to manage planning projects in an integral way taking the maximum advantages of all the technologies that are integrated as the Geographic Information System, the databases and the simulation mathematic models confers a special attract to it.

Concerning the Geographic Information System, Giswater isn’t exclusive of any software as nowadays we have to recognize that QGIS offers an infinties of virtues and this is why it is the GIS currently used. We will enumerate a small part of its huge potential:

  • It permits to have all the information correctly structured and georeferenced.


  • It has the ability of managing all types of datas formats. From AutoCAD dxf until Geodatabase of Esri, passing through calculation sheets or Google KML. It disposes of more than 140 raster formats (see full list) and more than 80 different vectorial formats (see full list).


  • It disposes of huge potential tools for wonderful maps editing with labeled symbology tools and composition of series maps tools (atlas composer) that delight any designer. In addition, in the specific case of Giswater, there are elements who are incorporated to generate project information consistency as different functionalities of the arc-node topology that can be appreciate in the following video :


Concerning the database, the project has opted for the use of PostreSQL, taking into account its maturity and robustness.

For the moment, its use is undervalued in Giswater and it is limited to certain information consistency actions and to the management of datas calatogs.

In the future, the project can strongly and deeply evolves in this field and unlike the more modern simulation models that called themselves “gis-centric” tools, Giswater goes a step further being a database-centric tool. Anyway, we are going here to underline the mean characteristics that already incorporates Giswater working in an integrated database environment. Therefore, its means characteristics are:

  • The possibility to realize automatic calculations in the database, through the using of triggers that are executed when a defined event appears.


  • Huge capacity to manage all types of datas. It deserves to be underline that according to the representatives of the National Institute of Stastistics and Geography of Mexico  who are using PostgreSQL with PostGIS for the geospatial data management and as a relevant example, only in the layer portals of all Mexico there are more than 50 millions of records and the database support it.


  • Possibility to manage datas using catalogs in order to increase the capacity of analysis and management. It means that is possible to associate them to our network elements as you can see it in the following video:

Concerning the open source EPA models for networks calculation as EPANET and SWMM, we have to underline that the tool integrates them perfectly so the user can forget the limited editing interfaces that dispose those programs. With Giswater, the capacities of any hydraulic engineer who usually works with EPANET or SWMM increase exponentialy. In fact, when they manage the tool all the work is realized from the GIS interface. For example, the mean virtues of the tool supplemented all the potential that is entirely available for the models:


  • Network Sectorisation. It permits to not simulate all the network every time that we want to realize any update in the model. This sectorisation isn’t only especially important for the mathematic model but also while it is in a construction phase where shortage and bad datas quality are often quite usual.


  • Dual drainage integrated model (1D/2D). The SWMM source code has been modified by the personal of the Polytechnic University of Catalunya to make possible the realisation of an entire dual drainage model (1D/2D) in an open source software. We have to underline that the model who is avaiable in beta phase now is in code validation phase for the international community.


  • Definition capacity of all work parameters from the GIS interface using all fields calculator potential and as you can observe in the following video:



Finally, we will comment the river analysis case. This model works ostensibly differently with the case of EPANET and SWMM. In fact, the river analysis model codelines are not incorporated in Giswater, it is only prepared to export the geometries files with (*.sdf) extension making functionalities really similar to the ones that other property softwares realize during this process. This is why unlike EPANET where Giswater brings numerous advantages, for the case of river analysis the only important competitive advantage of Giswater comparing to other models is that it’s free.

Meanwhile, use successfully the tool isn’t easy. It’s unusual that the companies have their personal prepared and able to manage all the technologies “arsenal” that Giswater involves. In this sense, to pursue the success of an implementation process, the key elements are:
1. Installation, configuration and launch of the software

Operate with Giswater requires to install the necessary programs for its correct working. This is why, before to start, one has to install, configurate and launch the different necessary technologies. For this purpose, the softwares that require to be installed are:

  • In the server: PostgreSQL + PostGIS
  • In client computers: QGIS, Java JRE of Oracle, Giswater, EPANET, SWMM

Once the softwares are installed, the moment to configurate them arrives. Database acces, rules definiton, users, security configurations, backups protocol definition. In addition, it is really importamt to ensure the compatibility of the different versions. For this purpose you can consult the website of Giswater.


2. Training of the personal

It represents without any doubts the key of the project. The organisation has to be prepared to work with Geographic Information Systems totally integrated with mathematic models that includes a minimal database management. Frequently, we encountered that the organisations are strongly competent with a high level of “expertise” among its members but they don’t have sufficient proficiency in all knowledge areas required and that’s why a minimal training is totally necessary.

When you dispose of all those minimal knowledges, it is possible to learn all the elements required to do our first project in the Giswater website, information that is available in its website documentation part.
However, if you need to accelerate your learning or deepen your knowledge on a specific topic, there are different trainings that are available so you don’t waste your time to understand correclty how works the tool. We are sure that one of those can be perfeclty adapted to your necessities. You can have a look on the Online training courses that we offer on the Geo-Training platform.
3. Customize the tool according to firm necessities.

A great part of the potential abilities of  Giswater is coming from the fact that you can realize customizations that permits to increase exponentialy the work potential of Giswater. In this sense, introducing modifications in the geodatabase through SQL or PL/PGSQL languages , we can get Giswater making authentic wonderfuls in our work. Those are some examples achieved by BGEO  to improve the user experience of its clients :

  •  Collaborative work and by distance. Without any doubts, it represents a huge field to exploit. You only need to configurate the possibility of different users access with differents roles and enable security protocols that are considered appropriated. Once the system is configurated, you could dispose of a tool where so many engineers and designers are, as we can imagine, working simultaneously in different part of the world in the same information layer, all at the same time, creating, editing, modifying the project information.


  • Tools for integrated management planning. Deploying all the management potential as you can see in this video:


  • Addition of new fields for information management. Usually, it is necessary to have more information in our projects. Observation fields or only fields to be able to save an hyperlink route that makes precise to modify the primary geotabase tables structure (arc and node types) to incorporate this information. The task requires a bit of ability but once the arc and node tables are modified the involved triggers have to been updated so the project can continue to be operative. However, once this task is achieved, the flexibility and the capacity of the tool ostensibly increase.



  • Changes traceability in arc and node tables. Few simple SQL and PL/PGSQL code lines can activate traceability functionalities that can be really interesting. For example, it can be especially interesting to save the historical of changes that happen in the arc and node tables, in order to recover them in case of. Here a brief comment about the code for which we only have to replace the SCHEMA NAME for the name of our work scheme and execute the same thing with the dashboard that we want. Once executed, we have to upload the layer log_node in the QGIS TOC and therefore we could be observators off all the things that occur on it. Why don’t you try it?


“id” int8 DEFAULT nextval(‘”SCHEMA_NAME”.log_node_seq'::regclass) NOT NULL,
“node_id” varchar(16),
“top_elev” numeric(12,4) DEFAULT 0.00,
“ymax” numeric(12,4) DEFAULT 0.00,
“swmm_type” varchar(18) COLLATE “default”,
“sector_id” varchar(30) COLLATE “default”,
“the_geom” public.geometry (POINT, 25831),
“operation” character varying(6),
“user” varchar (20),
“date” timestamp (6) without time zone) WITH ( OIDS=FALSE);

IF TG_OP = ‘INSERT’ THEN INSERT INTO SCHEMA_NAME.adm_log_node VALUES( nextval(‘”SCHEMA_NAME”.log_node_seq'::regclass),NEW.node_id, NEW.top_elev, NEW.ymax, NEW.swmm_type, NEW.sector_id, NEW.the_geom,’INSERT’, user, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP); RETURN NEW;
ELSIF TG_OP = ‘UPDATE’ THEN INSERT INTO SCHEMA_NAME.adm_log_node VALUES( nextval(‘”SCHEMA_NAME”.log_node_seq'::regclass),OLD.node_id, OLD.top_elev, OLD.ymax, OLD.swmm_type, OLD.sector_id, OLD.the_geom, ‘UPDATE’, user, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP); RETURN NEW;
ELSIF TG_OP = ‘DELETE’ THEN INSERT INTO SCHEMA_NAME.adm_log_node VALUES( nextval(‘”SCHEMA_NAME”.log_node_seq'::regclass),OLD.node_id, OLD.top_elev, OLD.ymax, OLD.swmm_type, OLD.sector_id, OLD.the_geom, ‘DELETE’, user, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP); RETURN NULL;



  • Development of tools that improve the productivity in the geospatial information structuration. During the project creation phase, we can encounter a bad quality of output information. In this sense, it can be interesting for us to adapt the arc-node topological behaviour or the restrictions incorporated in the node layer to avoid that any node at 35 centimeter distance of another one would be incorporated in the database.


  • Development of specific functionalities for sewerage and drainage projects as the improvement of pipelines depth datas. All of us that work usually with SWMM know that the introduction of depth datas in the pipelines is a little bit tiresome because we have to incorporate the pipeline depth measure as the distance from the bottom of the well until its inferior generator. Taking into account that the field measures are normally taken in the opposite way, from the well superior part until the pipeline inferior generator, it is really interesting to apply this functionality. Few SQL and PL/PGSQL codelines are enough to pursue the wonder with changes who occur in a totally transparent way. In fact, SWMM continues receiving measurements as the distance between the downhole and the pipeline inferior generator while the designer has to introduce distances from the superior part of the well until the pipeline inferior generator.

Those and many more other examples are ones of the benefits that can bring the use of Giswater 1.x to engineering and consulting firms. You only need to lose the fear of starting working with the tool to discover the marvelous potential that exists behind it.

In this sense, the BGEO firm, the Giswater developers jointly with GITS-UPC we dispose of the tools and necessary experience for the installation, launch and training that permits that Giswater use becomes a real succes for the organisations. We count more than 10 years of experience in the design of infrastructures and hydraulic planning projects with clients from all type of sectors because we know perfectly what needs an engineering firm to improve its productivity and quality for the design of supply, sewerage and urban drainage networks master plans.

In addition, it is noteworthy to underline that the version 2.0 will be soon released. This new version will include much more features and capabilities, therefore it will be possible to manage new things with it. The Giswater team hope that we could annonce in few weeks when will be released the first beta version of Giswater 2.0

If you want more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at or to call us at +34 938 600 293, we would be pleased to answer any of your requirements.