Yes, that's the actual view from our place. It's quite compact, but it really has location, location, location.

E-address: Roy.Brander "AT" gmail

402 1972 Robson St.
V6G 1E8

604-704-1527 mobile
604-681-2002 home landline

"Dora's Page": A daily photoblog.
Just a few photos a day and the odd Internet joke, so that mom Dora, back in Calgary, knows we're Not Dead Yet.

Covid Cup Colour Commentary
Blogging my pandemic news-junkie habits, and love of crunching numbers, which pandemics provide in abundance.

About Me


Sid the Cat - now departed (2019/Oct/12), fondly remembered (for new pictures of Felix the Cat, check Dora's Page).

My library. Practically a family member.


I had this career with two different disciplines: Civil Engineering, deciding which water mains to replace (and later, sewer, too) and IT development, mostly of GIS systems. I have degrees in both sciences. (Engineering, 1980, Computer Science 1985). I feel very lucky to have been able to combine them, bringing GIS tools to make for better engineering decisions. Between that, and mostly from helping start a major corrosion-protection program, I figure we saved the City of Calgary about a hundred million dollars on pipes they didn't have to replace.

Geographic Information Systems

Some Examples of work from my career - GIS maps of Calgary Water systems

Waterworks Infrastructure Management

It took about 20 years, but I finally developed a statistical model that would predict the likely number of main-breaks for the next year of a water pipe; a model that could be applied across an entire pipe database to give a risk-in-dollars-per-metre for each pipe, constantly. The database was then updated every night for risk levels, changed after every main break. It could then always print out a prioritized list for replacements.

Basically, I automated my own job of picking the yearly replacements by hand. My successor was able to expand her duties considerably, get out in the field more with the new inspection technologies. We co-wrote the paper on my model, delivered at the Western Canada Water and Wastewater Conference in Calgary, spring 2016, right after I retired.

PowerPoint file for "Calgary Water Main Break Prediction Model" All the speaking notes to go with each slide are included, so you can follow the whole presentation.

Sewer Infrastructure Management

The last several years of that career, my job was expanded to sanitary and storm sewers, when the two departments merged. Having developed a general approach to the "risk of a main" problem for water pipes, I was able to find an equivalent for sewer pipes: a model where the various things in its history (video inspections, past repairs) could predict the risk of future dig-repair needs, future flushing needs, and prioritize by risk. That model needed a lot more consideration of the "consequences" of failure, much higher if sewage spills into the environment than the street. A new engineer-in-training worked on that, under me, and we did a paper at the same conference about the equivalent sanitary-sewer risk model and rehabilitation priorities.

PowerPoint file for "Calgary Sanitary Sewer Risk Model", again including the whole speech.

Infrastructure Databases and Automation of Engineering Decisions

So it was quite the photo-finish to a career; the Sanitary Model showed a high correlation coefficient indicating statistical value, only weeks before I retired, was presented months after I did.

I was pretty proud, though. I solved - for Calgary, at least - the Holy Grail of Asset Management: entirely automatic risk prioritization. Then I did it again, for a quite different asset class. Most utilities still make these decision entirely by "gut-feel", or by rules-of-thumb. I'd found our old rules-of-thumb to be very wrong, in the course of developing a scientifically-defensible replacement. The fact that I was able to do it again, in such a short time, shows that the methodologies I developed remain valid, despite the type of infrastructure; they are general principles.

Utilities around the globe, but especially where there is a lot of old infrastructure, are wasting billions per year on replacement by poor guesswork. The "infrastructure crisis" is bad, but not actually quite as bad as many engineers portray it; with good data and good decisions, with new inspection and rehabilitation technologies, we can get a lot more value out of old infrastructure than we think.

Others carry on with these models at The City of Calgary Water Resources, but I hope they find application across the industry.

Pipeline Inspection Technologies

Speaking of new inspection technologies, I gave three presentations in retirement that explore the very state-of-the-art in pipe inspection, an industry where my native Alberta is an unquestioned world leader. I was very lucky to have worked with both Pure Technologies, and especially with PICA, both proud examples of Alberta's high-tech consulting to the world.

The infrastructure-evaluation methodologies I developed were for whole asset types (all 50,000 water pipes, say) where you have limited information about them. Pipeline inspection technologies bring your information to a whole other level, allowing for near-certainty about the pipes inspected. It's where you go next when the statistical models indicate a concern.

Presentation to Ontario Waterworks Assocation, 2016

Powerpoint of my Presentation to the National Association of Trenchless Technologies 2019, Denver, CO

Powerpoint of my Presentation to the American Waterworks Conference Workshop on Water Pipe Management2019, Chicago, IL

(There's some overlapping material between the two).


I retired with five other guys and it was this great party.

Lagoon Cam!

The Lagoon Cam has been mothballed because we do so much Zoom these days, it's always needed inside. We discovered how useful it was for Skyping and teaching kids remotely.

Click on the image to go to a animated GIF image of the shots from the previous hours. (That GIF is refreshed every hour, so from 3:01-4PM, you'll have a little movie of Noon-3:00.) Currently frozen at the 3 hours previous to the image at left.

The page where you view them has multi-megabyte GIF files for whole days; on sunny days, you can watch the shadows move across the street in a few seconds.

Skypers out there, I can't recommend enough that you buy a plug-in camera, and get a long USB cable extension. It's fun being able to put books and landscapes and pets on camera.

Old Blog and Library Pictures

When we first moved in here and I was still working, I blogged just to stay in touch with friends and co-workers back in Calgary. The only interesting post left here is pictures of my wonderful new library room with the sliding bookshelves. It has its own link,also above.

New "Blog", which isn't - just a few essays

I am attempting to get over a time-wasting, embarrassing habit of adding to news-site comments. My hope is that by concentrating all my writing energies on a blog which, with luck, nobody will read, I will exhaust my sick need to inflict my opinions on random strangers.

To my readers, if any: I apologize unreservedly. I was drunk at the time.

#12: The Covid Cup: America Will Finish at Bottom of the Major League (March 2020)
If there were a World Cup for pandemic response, there would have to be separate leagues for advanced and poor nations. South Korea will probably take it. America will come in last. Deservedly.

#11: The US Military Kills a Million Americans (March 2020)
It's not just that the budget for pandemic response was cut and staff fired; the real danger never got the funding that imaginary enemies get.

#10: My Cord-Cutting Adventure (May 2019)
I have just completed my setup of Over-The-Air (OTA) TV watching and DVR recording. We call Shaw tomorrow to cancel our cable subscription. Here's how.

#9: "Belters", My Asteroid (Jan 2019)
The wandering miners of the asteroid belt has become taken-for-granted science-fiction trope. The Expanse casually steals Larry Niven's "Belters" from the 1970s because everybody already knows it. You'd think it was bound to happen or something. But the whole idea is ridiculous. NASA's next mission is already going to one place with more metal than we can think what to do with.

#8:Carbon Wars: Fight smarter, not harder. (Mar 2018)
In which I defend the rest of the oil, at least from protest signs.

#7:Quit Picking on the Tar Sands (Mar 2018)
In which I defend the Dirtiest Oil In The World. Sort of defend.

#6:The Eleven Commandments of Roy Moore (Nov 2017)
No, seriously. Click on the link to count all eleven on his Rock.

#5: American Evangelicals in Black and White (Nov 2017)
Continuing with my efforts to be hated by Americans, I criticize their most devout Church People.

#4: It Takes a Global Village to Raise a Starship (Oct 2017)
The challenges of star travel are so large that it won't happen without the whole species working on it. For generations. Peacefully. Sorry if that ruins all your fun SF.

#3: SF That Dares Not Predict (Oct 2017)
SF writers are bold about predicting new physical sciences, but not new forms of social rules. Why is every starship on TV crewed by the British Navy?

#2: Not Paying Attention to Middle America? If Only. (Oct 2017)
Having "broken up" with America in post #1, I'm free to get on with serious "America Hating". Which this will surely be, to some people: Nobody has had more attention paid to them than America between the Coasts. The notion that they've been neglected is hilarious.

#1: Breaking Up With America (Sept 2017)
The core of this was written the day after Trump was elected and is pure angry rant - not at Trump, at the whole nation that elected him. America, I'm sooo over you.