In the late 90s, the industry wisdom was that network models were too complex for our direct understanding. It was thought that without placing limits on the utility network model, it would take infinitely large databases to capture the real world precisely.
Some vendors created models where data was reduced to a finite and manageable quantity by either generalization or abstraction. These vendors created geometric connectivity models with simple features that lacked intelligent details. Their models didn’t allow for sub-types or features occupying the same geographic location. As a result, network designs were created to fit the model and not the real world.
In today’s world, we realize that large databases are not an issue. For 20 years, GIS vendors stated that a GIS model was adequate until last year where they said it was not.
For over 40 years, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure has prided itself on the fact that our model is a real-world representation. Our model contains logical connectivity, complex features and components, intelligent details and schematics, sophisticated versioning, and detailed relationships. While GIS companies stated that a utility network could be managed by the GIS alone, Hexagon’s position has always been that utilities companies need true network model management. We agree with vendors; the utility data model can’t be kept in a GIS model. The network needs to be modeled and managed as it exists in the real world. In this way, the model is a single source of truth that can feed all enterprise systems, including operations. Network model management is not something new to Hexagon. In fact, we have it in production with some of the world’s largest utility companies.
If you want to know more, I’ll be at booth 3019 during DistribuTECH Conference and Exposition this month in San Antonio, Texas. Or you can schedule a demo to see our solutions at the show. See you there.
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.