Creating Custom Reports within InfoWorks


Courtesy of Innovyze

Custom reports within InfoWorks provide a straightforward and flexible way of extracting and disseminating information about the system, explains Wallingford Software senior vice president Saša Tomic.

InfoWorks’ custom reports give users the flexibility to draw together bespoke sets of information to meet virtually any need. The user can chose between publishing the reports on the internet and producing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The possibilities of custom reports are limitless, from a simple pie chart of the distribution of pipe lengths across the network to complex report documents such as IWA and AWWA Infrastructure Leakage Index assessment.

Once a report has been created, it can be reused on any network or selection of network elements as the custom reports templates are stored within the InfoWorks database. Custom reports therefore provide another way to transfer knowledge from a high level user - who can create the report template - to a casual user, who only needs to know how to use Windows in order to produce a report of any complexity. Furthermore, since custom reports can be published directly onto the internet, InfoWorks is not required to view them.

Both the InfoWorks and Excel aspects of the setup are straightforward.  In InfoWorks, the user drags the desired report template onto the network or selection of objects as appropriate. InfoWorks takes the selected objects – such as pipes or nodes - and puts the information into the Excel spreadsheet, which performs the specified reporting actions, such as counting how many pipes fall within different diameter ranges or creating graphs.

InfoWorks’ own built-in reporting tools satisfy countless typical situations but - as every situation is different - there are occasions when a particular combination of information needs to be analyzed. Excel spreadsheets are already widely used by InfoWorks users for additional reports and so the ability to create automated custom reports within InfoWorks provides a simple and reliable method of linking the two together.

Use of the custom reports simplifies the analysis and distribution of network information. The format is chosen according to the situation. The user can specify in Excel exactly how the results should be displayed – for instance as graphs, charts or tables – and can export them to a web page if required.

EnlargeThe InfoWorks part of the operation essentially involves importing a three-worksheet Excel template into a custom report object. The first step is to create and name the custom report object. The object is then opened and the Excel template which defines the way the report should look - for instance, looking for pipes that are smaller than a particular diameter – is imported and stored in InfoWorks.

The appropriate formulae are written in the Excel template using a simple convention on how to name ranges that can be understood by InfoWorks. The standard names for the ranges are the same as those used in InfoWorks, for example in the SQL tool, where they can be looked up. When editing a template built by someone else, the lists of named ranges already in use can be found in Excel under Insert>>Name>>Define.

Range names are prefixed by wn_ for water networks and cn_ or rn_ for collection or river networks respectively. The element name and field name follow.

The name for the range being examined is therefore made up of three parts: the type of network (i.e. wn, cn or rn), the element name (e.g. pipe, node) and the attribute’s field name (e.g. length, diameter). The range of pipe lengths for a water network would, for instance, be written wn_pipe_length. This expression could be used to find the range of pipe lengths for the chosen selection, which might number tens of thousands of pipes. Other available fields include network element data, control data, simulation results and custom InfoWorks expressions for all types of InfoWorks elements including customer points and spatial data.

The formula for maximum pipe length in the chosen range would be MAX(wn_pipe_length). This formula would work regardless of the number of pipes exported.  Other typical actions could include counting how many pipes are shorter than a specified number or summing the total lengths. There is no need to specify the range of cell numbers within Excel - this is picked up by the selection within InfoWorks. The number of objects that can be exported at a time is limited only by Excel´s limit of 65,536 rows. The only other limitation is that the custom report works on a single time step.

Part, or all, of the network is selected in InfoWorks and the report is run by dragging it into InfoWorks using the mouse. InfoWorks takes the selected objects, puts them into the spreadsheet and applies the operations contained in the template´s formulae. Finally, InfoWorks opens Excel with the desired report. If the user wants to publish the report on the internet, the Excel report or any part of it can be automatically published onto the web server.  The same report could then be run for other selections and the fresh results would be displayed or the web site would be updated.

A good example of Custom Reports would be to use the technique to study system leakage, resulting in the automatic production of an IWA and AWWA Infrastructure Leakage (ILI) Report. The network selection is made in InfoWorks and the pre-designed report template is dragged in to activate it. The complete ILI report is produced automatically including water balance, leakage index and system performance, pressure management, and financial indicators reports. 

The same custom report can then be re-applied if required to other selections anywhere on the network – or to the network as a whole - and the results can optionally be exported to a web page or even to a complex web site on a web server.

The report template is saved within InfoWorks and becomes part of the database, avoiding the need to supply other users with the associated Excel spreadsheet. Any number of reports can be created without slowing down InfoWorks.

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