Welcome to FlowWorks. The onboarding process entails a few key steps, which are outlined in this summarizing article.
1. Configure your data loggers
FlowWorks has the capacity to connect with data logging hardware from a large variety of makes and manufacturers. Regardless of which data logger brand(s) you choose to deploy out into the field, it is important that the data is configured correctly so that syncing with FlowWorks can be easy and seamless.
This section discusses some key notes and considerations for when you initially setup your loggers for data relaying. If you have any hardware related questions (such as installation), please directly consult the logger's manufacturer.
Before continuing, we recommend you review the article, Sites vs. Channels.
1.1. Metric vs. Imperial units in FlowWorks
FlowWorks stores data in the exact units as received by the data logger. This is a best practice we maintain in order to ensure that we have a 'backup' of untouched data to fall back on, should we need to refer back to the raw data at any point in time.
If in FlowWorks you need to see the data in metric rather than imperial or vice versa, we recommend using FlowWorks' Advanced Calculation Engine (FACE) to convert the data. Using FACE, you can set up a new Calculated channel that consistently copies-in data from the original channel and applies a desired unit conversion formula. The resultant data in the Calculated channel can be used for any form of analysis in lieu of the original channel, thus leaving the original channel untouched in case a back-up is ever needed.
For step-by-step instructions on setting up a new Calculated channel for converting data units, see article, Formula Example: Converting Measurement Units of a Channel.
1.2. Standard vs. Daylight Savings time
We are often asked by our clients why we always program field data collection systems in Standard time, and why we never collect or show data in Daylight Savings Time. The main reason is for long-term consistency, and it usually only gets appreciated years later when all of that great data gets looked at by someone doing a multi-year study. Here’s an example:
A client has been using FlowWorks for several years, and is now ready to do some sewer inflow & infiltration (I&I) analysis work. The client downloads a block of data, or uses the FlowWorks I&I analysis tool for this purpose.
When you do this type of analysis, you remove a dry weather flow pattern template from the total flow data. It is essential that all of the data be in Standard Time, otherwise you run the risk of using dry and wet weather templates that are shifted relative to each other by one hour (dry weather often being taken when Daylight Savings Time is in effect, while wet weather events are often during Standard Time). The result is sometimes subtle and difficult to see, but often leads to the wrong inferences being generated in the analysis.
We have seen this happen in many other situations. For example:
- Operations staff will look at data and want to know when the early morning low sewage flow comes, in order to plan for some maintenance work in the pipe. Not being sure if the data is in Standard or Daylight time causes confusion. With FlowWorks, nearly everything is always in Standard time.
- Comparing data from two different rain and storm stations (one running in Standard Time, the other in Daylight) causes confusion and puts a one-hour error on the timing of the rain peak relative to the storm peak.
Whenever we have the choice, we always run our data collection platform in Standard Time as we believe it is a best practice, and avoids as much confusion as possible. It is true that there is an inconvenience associated with all of the data being stored in Standard Time, usually when the data is being used for very casual review by someone who is not used to Standard Time, or if trying to pin down the time that an actual event (such as a sewer overflow) occurred. However, the long-term benefits of keeping all data on the same time signal certainly outweighs the inconvenience.
If you find that you absolutely must have the correction for Daylight Savings Time applied to your data, talk to us! We may be able to provide you with a workaround.
1.3. Internal vs. display site name
One of the greatest advantages to using FlowWorks is its ability to view, manage, and analyze your infrastructure as if it were one homogeneous network – no matter the variety of hardware manufacturers within your network.
With that said, one of the most common problems users find is making sense out of the self-identification capabilities of each logger that is out in the field. Some devices are fully programmable and permit your data to arrive with a label that makes sense to you; others are less programmable and strictly insist on utilizing its serial number for identification.
FlowWorks permits you to push this problem into the background, by way of creating a display site name that is visible only within FlowWorks. Rather than replacing the internal site name, the display name simply overrides the internal name in FlowWorks, thus making it much easier for you to identify sites.
Both names can be the same if your logger supports such programming; but more often than not, they are completely different. It is the internal site name that is referenced as data arrives in FlowWorks. When data arrives with a name that doesn't match any of the internal site names, the data is not accepted.
Once a packet of incoming data is matched up to an expected internal site name, we can drop that name and from that point on, you will see the data tagged with the display site name from within the FlowWorks application.
To set up a site with FlowWorks, you have two options: a) submit a Site Setup Form to FlowWorks' Support team and; b) create sites yourself using FlowWorks' Manual Site Creation tool. In either case, you will be asked to specify the internal site name and display site name.
2. Configure the layout/organization of your data files
FlowWorks currently supports several CSV data formats. For details, see article, Supported Data Formats for CSV files.
If you cannot achieve any of the recommended data formats, please contact us and provide a sample data file. With some custom development work, we may be able to support your preferred format.
3. Setup Data Communications
How data is relayed over to FlowWorks is logger-dependant. If your devices have IP-based communication, the sites need to be communicating to us before we can create them in FlowWorks. If your devices use FTP, you have the option to setup your sites (see step 4) before completing data communication setup.
Please review the article, Communication Methods: Considerations for more on the technology, options, and limitations involved in the communications process for getting your data into FlowWorks.
If FTP is possible with your equipment, please see article, Upload Data to FlowWorks Via FTP for setup instructions.
4. Create Sites in FlowWorks
There are two ways in which you can create sites in FlowWorks.
- Manually adding sites using the Manual Site Creation tool.
Please see article, Manually Create a New Site, for step-by-step guidance.
- Complete a Site Setup Form and submit to FlowWorks Support.
The Site Setup Form is a templated Excel document that is used by clients to communicate specific parameters pertaining to new sites they wish to create in FlowWorks. Once the completed form has been accepted by FlowWorks' Support staff, they will utilize it to finalize setup on your behalf.
To download the form, and to learn how to complete it, see the article, Download and Complete the Site Setup Form.
It is important that you understand the following terms for smooth site setup.
4.1. Site Fees
- FlowWorks requires an initial setup fee per site; as well, a recurring monthly fee for all active sites.
- A setup fee is applicable for all sites a Client wishes to reactivate.
5. Start using FlowWorks
Once your sites are all set up and relaying data to FlowWorks, you can begin to use the platform's many tools for monitoring, reporting and analysis. For step-by-step instructions on all of FlowWorks' tools, refer to the many help articles in our User Guide.