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ArcFM™ Server — Optimizing your organization’s geospatial knowledge

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Many utilities have invested heavily in geospatial technology and are finding more accurate and comprehensive network data, and the systems for managing and maintaining that data, have been impactful in their organizations. Now, with a heavy investment in infrastructural knowledge, they want to make the most of what they have in place.
But there are challenges to sharing geospatial information. Non-GIS users demand simplicity; integrating data can be costly; and needs and priorities change.
The utility implementing Web-enabled GIS finds an agile flow of GIS information allows access by both traditional GIS users and non-traditional information consumers, greatly expanding the magnitude of geospatial information consumption possible. Interface with enterprise systems eliminates duplication of data stores. Eliminating data extraction and conversion improves not only efficiency but also accuracy. Communication is in near real time, with a direct line to user-assigned tasks from various modes of access. The value of the GIS has multiplied.
ArcFM Server web services includes the tools and viewing capabilities that enables GIS data managed by the ArcFM Enterprise GIS solution to be available in distributed locations by many more users for multi-disciplinary support. Utilities find optimized returns on ArcFM Server investment through more efficient data management, improved infrastructure data quality and enhanced decision making and customer service.

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ArcFM™ Server — Optimizing your organization’s geospatial knowledge

  1. 1. APPLICATION NOTE ArcFMTM Server – Optimizing your organization’s geospatial knowledge Abstract Many utilities have invested heavily in geospatial technology and are finding more accurate and comprehensive network data, and the systems for managing and maintaining that data, have been impactful in their organizations. Now, with a heavy investment in infrastructural knowledge, they want to make the most of what they have in place. But there are challenges to sharing geospatial information. Non-GIS users demand simplicity; integrating data can be costly; and needs and priorities change. The utility implementing Web-enabled GIS finds an agile flow of GIS information allows access by both traditional GIS users and non-traditional information consumers, greatly expanding the magnitude of geospatial information consumption possible. Interface with enterprise systems eliminates duplication of data stores. Eliminating data extraction and conversion improves not only efficiency but also accuracy. Communication is in near real time, with a direct line to user-assigned tasks from various modes of access. The value of the GIS has multiplied. ArcFM Server web services includes the tools and viewing capabilities that enables GIS data managed by the ArcFM Enterprise GIS solution to be available in distributed locations by many more users for multi-disciplinary support. Utilities find optimized returns on ArcFM Server investment through more efficient data management, improved infrastructure data quality and enhanced decision making and customer service. Introduction You’ve jumped through all the hoops: you’ve defined your data models, built your network connectivity, and established editing processes to ensure data integrity. You’ve provided tools to the people who need access to your geospatial information. Now it’s time to share the fruits of your labor and allow more people to do more things with your intensive investment in time and labor. 1 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013--0
  2. 2. APPLICATION NOTE In this paper, we discuss how a Web-based GIS solution such as ArcFM™ Server can support your organization’s multidisciplinary requests, serving both traditional GIS users and non-traditional information consumers in a variety of environments — allowing the utility to extend the utilization of geospatial intelligence and make the most of its GIS investment. Getting to server-based GIS GIS technology has evolved through several platform stages — File based. There was a day when everything in GIS was file based. We worked on workstation computers and operated on file-based geospatial and tabular formats. File based, on servers. Then, all raster and vector GIS files were housed on a file server that had about 5 GB of disk storage — considered massive at the time. This was the beginning of shared information. Database servers. Storing GIS features as rows in a relational database allowed the organization to put the industrial strength of relational database management systems like Oracle and SQL Server to work to store, process and share geographic information. This client/server technology allowed users to operate on GIS data — to edit data and use it with specific desktop GIS applications for specific industries — without regard to how the data was stored and retrieved. However, the client applications were heavy and didn’t provide a good separation between the business logic and the user experience. Services-oriented, Web-enabled GIS. Now we have the ability to separate the data storage, the business logic and the user experience into separate layers. Just like in the days of database servers, we are not concerned about the method of storage and where the business logic is being done. Intensive processes now can be done on a collection of load-balanced server machines, making the client machine, now lighter, faster and easier to use, available strictly for the user experience. Another huge advantage: the functionality can be utilized by a number of consumers accessing via a browser-based application, a desktop mapping application or a whole range of mobile possibilities, including smartphones. 2 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0
  3. 3. APPLICATION NOTE Industry challenges You want to make more data available to more consumers to take advantage of more possibilities. However, sharing geospatial information presents several challenges — Desktop GIS, even with its robust power and myriad of tools, is not an effective medium for sharing information. The user experience is too complex; and installing, configuring and maintaining heavy desktop client applications is a costly effort. The growing group of non-traditional GIS consumers demands simplicity. They equate simplicity with tools such as Google Maps or Bing™, and they ask for their solution to be on that order of simplicity. Geospatial information needs to be easily integrated with other enterprise systems serving the utility’s consumers. Extraction and conversion are often finicky processes that require more attention than you have time to give. Needs and priorities change over time. The data you gather, and the information you need to share, changes often, and you need a system that’s flexible enough to roll with those changes. Drivers and trends Despite the challenges, there is plenty of impetus for implementing a Web-based GIS solution for sharing infrastructural knowledge — Industry drivers Aging workforce. An increasing number of workers are reaching retirement age, and many of them have a lot of operational and infrastructural knowledge that the utility risks losing when these workers retire or move on to other opportunities. To get this information out of their heads and into an electronic knowledge base, utilities need easy-to-use applications. Rather than implementing yet another system to store knowledge, an established GIS already functioning as the asset system of record is ideal for efficiently expanding and sharing infrastructual knowledge. 3 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0
  4. 4. APPLICATION NOTE Aging workforce. An increasing number of workers are reaching retirement age, and many of them have a lot of operational and infrastructural knowledge that the utility risks losing when these workers retire or move on to other opportunities. To get this information out of their heads and into an electronic knowledge base, utilities need easy-to-use applications. Rather than implementing yet another system to store knowledge, an established GIS already functioning as the asset system of record is ideal for efficiently expanding and sharing infrastructual knowledge. Aging infrastructure. For all utilities, aging infrastructure continues to be a pressing issue. Results of a 2010 survey of IOUs, reported by Black and Veatch, indicates 43 percent of distribution assets are considered by utility leaders as either at or near the end of their operational lifespan. A year later, utility executives ranked aging infrastructure their highest priority issue. Further, utilities report that 15 percent of the organization’s information and computer systems are at the end of their operational lifecycle — strongly signaling that IT organizations with less-than-plentiful resources need efficient solutions. Downturn and stimulus. There’s no question that the economic downturn has strained utilities of all types. Stimulus programs target the building of new infrastructure for smart grids or for broadband expansion, which adds much more data to be maintained and shared. Real-time collection. Data-gathering systems such as the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), field mobility solutions and integrated work management or ERP systems can update your spatial information many times a day. It is important to be able to collect these updates from other systems, where appropriate, and to access them as needed. Trends supporting growth opportunities Electric. Smart Grid stimulus grants and regulations are pushing electric utilities to a higher level of operational awareness, data interchange and security. Gas. Infrastructural knowledge is the letter of the law with gas distribution systems. Operators are seeking better and faster ways to identifying risks and optimizing system integrity management. Telecom. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion in stimulus grants targeting the building of broadband communications infrastructure across the rural landscape. In its intent, it is the equivalent of the Rural Electrification Act of 1937. And, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan places new demands on utility companies to make rightof-way and support structures ready for attachment. Web GIS as an enterprise system Efficient and accurate data management 4 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0
  5. 5. APPLICATION NOTE Figure 1 shows how traditionally managed network data can become entrenched in silos. Often, moving data from modeling and maintenance to different systems for consumer access requires extraction and/or conversion steps. Then, when data consumers find where updates or changes need to be made, the data must be edited or augmented. Then, further processing is needed to share the data. The latency introduced to the flow of information with these conversions, not to mention the possibility of introducing error, undermines the goal of sharing infrastructural knowledge. Figure 1. With non-enterprise GIS data management, data must be extracted, converted, or otherwise processed – as shown by the grey boxes. In effect, these steps separate modeling/maintaining, accessing and sharing into distinct silos of functionality that result in delayed or diminished availability and can increase the potential for data errors. Figure 2 shows a Web GIS solution, such as ArcFM Server, providing a more agile flow of GIS information by eliminating conversions and processing — Data processing can be automated with ArcGIS’s geoprocessing framework, so that new views of the data can be shared without having to convert and export out data sets. Communication is in near real-time There is a direct line to data maintenance tasks, as appropriate, from the various modes of access. Expanded geospatial consumption Figure 3 shows the magnitude of consumption possible with Web-based GIS — Network Authoring — Traditionally, the utility might have 10 or even hundreds of users defining, modeling and maintaining the network connectivity model. Decision Support — Using that network anddata analytics are users involved in compliance,inspections, outage restorations. The number ofusers could be in the thousands, depending on thesize of the organization. Big Data — Many different systems and processesare consuming data and using a variety of data andsophisticated models to predict what might happenand to prescribe actions to achieve optimal results.There can be hundreds of thousands of transactions,so the number of records being stored or analyzedbecomes huge.Data processing can be automated with 5 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0
  6. 6. APPLICATION NOTE ArcGIS’s geoprocessing framework, so that new views of the data can be shared without having to convert and export out data sets. Figure 2. Web GIS as an enterprise system allows the utility to deploy spatially-aware applications over the Web in a browser environment familiar to all users. Figure 3. The value of the utility GIS multiplies when many different users and lots of platforms share data. ArcFM Server ArcFM Server was developed with a Web services foundation for supporting a service-oriented architecture (SOA) across the enterprise, making data managed by the ArcFM Enterprise GIS solution available in distributed locations to support multidisciplinary requests. Without any platform changes, the server strategy becomes a mobile strategy. ArcFM Server tasks and tools ArcFM Server Web services provides server extensions for key ArcFM Solution functionality — Utility-specific network tracing. Use specific tracing functions across a variety of platforms, not just GIS in a browser but from other systems that enable use everywhere; see Figure 4. Augmented tracing. Many users need more than simple traces; they want information related to that connectivity model. For example, gas operators who do a valve isolation trace want to know which customers are affected by the isolation — 6 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0
  7. 7. APPLICATION NOTE information that can drive decisions involving customer service , system integrity and workflow. Figure 5 displays the meter sets and how they are connected. What isn’t visible in the Figure 5 interface is how these customers are related to the meters. If the user is working with a desktop application, he or she would have to drill down from the meter set feature to a service address table, and then to a related table that has customer contact information. While this is straightforward for a GIS operator who knows how the data is structured and is trained on how to get to the information, this drill-down is not likely as practical for others in the organization. Finding things. Certainly, the user wants to be able to find features by attribute. Yet, it can be very valuable to find features based on information related to those features. For example, the user might want to find gas valves based on inspection records; or find transformers based on manufacturer type; or find test points based on test dates; or find poles that have telecommunications attachments. A dispatcher who receives a call from a customer with power quality issues wants to find the potential network trouble spot that could be affecting a larger number of customers downstream. Using a Web-based GIS, the dispatcher doesn’t need to see a map, doesn’t have to refer to a duplicate database and doesn’t have to deal with data conversion. Instead, a simple tool in the dispatcher’s familiar application processes the data. Figure 6 shows how an ArcFM Server user can view customer information that is related to a service point of interest but is managed on another system. Instead of compiling customer information in the geodatabase that duplicates data stored in the CIS, ArcFM Server enables the integration of CIS data within the GIS. Conclusion Perhaps the best way for a utility to realize the investment it has made in GIS is to make that data fundamental in day-to-day operations. The more the data is used, the better it becomes. A Web-based GIS such as Schneider Electric’s ArcFM Server is a highly effective solution for making data available to more organization users and provides an efficient means of getting inconsistencies fixed once they are found by those users. As a result, data quality is continually improved, which in turn enhances the operations and business decision making based on that data. Those decisions improve customer service and optimize resources — two very significant ways a utility can manifest returns on a technology investment. 7 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, photocopied, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature, without the written permission of the copyright owner. www.schneider-electric.com Rev 2013-0

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