From above ground power lines to underground water mains, switches to pumps, the different types of assets geographically distributed across a utility provider’s network are complex. And that’s just the physical aspect of it. When you consider all of the associated data and work processes for each asset (e.g., design, documentation, geolocation, maintenance and replacement history), describing a utility network as complex is an understatement.
Accurate and adequate network data management are at the heart of keeping utility services up and running. Knowing what assets are where, and what operational condition they are in is just the tip of the iceberg. To successfully operate and manage a utility network, requires a more nuanced approach than the stock capabilities found in standard geographical information systems (GIS); it requires functional network models built on a deep understanding of the network information, including the relationship assets have one with another. It also include the work processes, and analysis utility providers need to support their operations as well as the multiple ways they need to use their data across the enterprise.
In this blog series, I’m going to highlight seven reasons utility providers trust Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure with their network models, including:
- Robust Data Modeling
- Sophisticated Network Tracing
- Performance and Scalability
- Advanced Version Management
- System Reliability
- Single Vendor Advantages
- Industry Standards
For this installment, I’ll discuss the robust data modeling capabilities of our utility network solutions, which provide complex data model support and mirrors the real data needs of utility providers. Without further ado, here’s a look at robust data modeling.
Data Model Variations
A utility network model, regardless of the industry, is very complex. Each feature may be made up of several components, each with their own extensive attribution and relationships. Network models having unlimited attribution and unlimited relationships is a must. In today’s enterprise systems, supporting external system links at the database level is a common practice. Finally, a system should allow the database to do those things that it is good at. These include maintaining roles, security, backups, etc.
Graphical Model Variations
With asset inventories, network overviews, schematics, detailed load distribution, and longitudinal profiles, our utility network management solutions provide detailed data presentations across multiple geographical representations and scales. The ability to dynamically render the same data in a range of visual representations ensures each job function can work with current, accurate data in the style of presentation their role needs without duplicating data entry and management tasks.
Single Repository for Data
Maintaining a single, live repository removes the need to rebuild network connectivity after editing, so the new data is available immediately for network analysis. This architecture also provides version management. Using a long-term transaction approach at the database level, jobs can be modeled to match a utility’s current process. To store utility networks’ spatial data, Oracle Locator is used, which facilitates better integration with other geospatial clients at the database level. This also provides easy integration at the database level with other enterprise systems too.
Mike Baker is an executive consultant for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure's utilities and communications solutions. With more than 25 years of GIS experience, Mike has provided consulting services to many customers in various industries, with emphasis on utilities during his 20-plus years at Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure.