GvSIG Fonsagua, GIS for water designs

It is a valuable tool for projects oriented to water and sanitation in the framework of cooperation agencies. Generically, it has been working with good results Epanet, Although with limitations in its process of adaptation to the changes.

After looking for reasons why GvSIG and Cooperation se Invisible Of overnight, I have taken the time to review this effort that seems to me of the best contributions of free software to institutional and socioeconomic development.

The context

gvSIG Fonsagua arises within the framework of the projects of the Galician Cooperation that has worked in different countries of Central America and Africa. But it is in the south of Honduras where this development is incubated, in which CartoLab and Ingeniería Sin Fronteras are involved, I remember it when I spoke about the risks of using NavTable extension in gvSIG 1.10.

The experience seems to have been very good. Sure result of different efforts and after being in a context that tried to do tangles by combining ArcView (Pirated maybe), Excel, Access and paper formats with field pickup ballots.

Gvsig fonsagua

Although this is the context of two municipalities in southern Honduras, the situation is similar in many places in Latin America. Irrigated data, non-standardized analysis, exclusion of the socioeconomic aspect, limitations in automated tools, illegal use of proprietary software, duplication of effort, in short.

The Solution

As a result of the design, a tool is built on gvSIG 1.1.2, which runs on the desktop version or also On the portable. This works in a logical way, solving the cycle of collecting alphanumeric, cartographic data, system design and report generation.


At the field level, it supports the capture of data with conventional gps in the form of waypoints. This is in case that coordinates of gauging points, sources, distribution lines, tanks, populations, etc. are obtained.

Gvsig fonsagua Then, the forms can be customized for the entry of information, allowing validation rules that do not require much return to be implemented. These work on the NavTable extension by means of very practical tabs. As an example in this project, two sheets were used, one with socioeconomic information of the beneficiary populations and the other where technical data related to existing sources and infrastructures, design and consumption parameters that will be considered in the analysis are collected.

Once data is entered, tentative designs can be made that are built on the map. There is the full potential of gvSIG CAD / GIS tools but Fonsagua included additional tools to make common routines in the design of water networks, such as indicating when a point is starting, when two networks come together, also topological validation and routines to maintain consistency . Areas of influence can also be integrated, selecting communities and beneficiaries to prioritize based on cost / benefit / impact relationships.

Gvsig fonsagua

Then, in the case of networks based on gravity, the analysis can be executed from the parameters and design conditions. The system displays a table where you can see the different sections to play what our old HP calculators did, and in the absence of one, to travel, to roam, until we reduced the losses or We cooked the data It can be changed by segment such as pipe diameter, elevation and type of material to ensure that the speed and losses are within the established parameters. Very interesting this functionality, because the red colors alert if something is wrong and in case of integrating or eliminating a community you just have to run the calculation again.

The methodology is based on the one used by Ingeniería Sin Fronteras, although there are plans to go beyond.

Other elements can also be integrated into the design, such as supply tanks or pumping systems. With indicating parameters related to the line of conduction and storage can calculate the amount of horsepower required by the pump. Simply exquisite!

Gvsig fonsagua

And then, you can generate reports to support the technical files or communicate results. The information is stored in a SQLite database and shape files.

In short, it is a great tool for the design of drinking water systems, with integration to cartographic information.

We can not ignore that it is freely available, since it works with a GPL license. Your code is available if you want to readjust for similar projects.

As an example I leave you a sample video, although on the Fonsagua page there are more videos, more about the project and an example with data.

Challenges pending

Among the strong challenges of gvSIG Fonsagua is the diffusion of the tool among the different cooperation programs that work on similar topics. Only in Honduras, the offices of AECID in the North and West have specific lines for Water projects with public funds from Spain that are coordinated through the Technical Cooperation Office. It would be a great opportunity if they manage to integrate this development as a tool for the planning of and its use in Technical Units of the mancomunidades and municipalities. It would also be interesting to have a light version for monitoring by the water boards, which are the ones that end up with sustainability. This type of efforts could guarantee the continuity of this effort in the crazy changes of government of these countries where there is no civilian career implemented and also to ensure the alignment of cooperation efforts.

It is clear that Engineering Without Borders will exploit the effort in other countries, but there are also other Cooperatives working on the theme of Water, as a Peace Corps, whose priority for the funds currently executed in Honduras is in the design of drinking water systems. The majority of donors are focused on almost the same cycle, so we will surely have to think about ways to spread the tool in other instances of cooperation.

Going to gvSIG of more recent versions is another challenge, although it is conditioned to different aspects, among them the -aparente- uncertainty of what the stable version of gvSIG will be within 347.5 days and whether it will be available in portable version. We suppose, this issue will be easily solved after iCarto becomes a full-fledged partner of the gvSIG Organization, an achievement that we consider significant in strengthening the quality industrial fabric. With this we assume that it could go beyond the hydro-sanitary issue towards the hydrological field, which is a niche with great potential.

And finally, the challenge of influencing public policy, which is more complicated but can be of great value if the experience is systematized, processes and provided as a tool -Free from misgivings about institutional visibility- to support the Framework Laws and deconcentration of services of the water sector in tropical countries.

See more of GvSIG Fonsagua

2 Replies to "gvSIG Fonsagua, SIG for water designs"

  1. Thanks Fran, I will make the correction as soon as I return to civilization.

    A greeting.

  2. From Cartolab and myself as a member of the team that develops gvSIG Fonsagua, we greatly appreciate the analysis you have done of the application. Comments like this help us to keep working trying to do things as well as possible.

    Currently we are in contact with several agencies to finance the development of new features for the application and migrate to the latest version of gvSIG.

    Just a detail to clarify. The application is not designed exactly to make the technical folder of a construction project if not rather to be able to perform the prioritization of possible supply alternatives. This is one of the points that is more difficult to convey. The methodology of the Integral Water Resources Management Plan, which is where the application is framed, has several different phases, and always chooses to first carry out a general plan where several options are contemplated and later to carry out a construction phase, but there are many people Which prefers to go directly to the construction phase, which from our point of view is not usually the most appropriate.

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