You are here

MLGW Gas Asset Tracking and Traceability Pilot (Part 2)

SSP is excited to have Clifton Phillips as a cowriter of this case study.  His brief biography is included below.


In Part 1 of this case study, we provided background as to why MLGW undertook the effort.  We also outlined the work flow at a high level.  In this second part, we will “Follow the Data” from collection to GIS conversion.  The focus will be on the use of custom tools which aid GIS staff in the ongoing migration of the collected GPS data to the enterprise GIS. 

Follow the Data Diagram

The diagram above summarizes the data flow as follows:  

  • 1st Step: This involves the utilization of a barcode scanner to automatically populate specific attributes applicable to the feature (see Part 1).  The GPS unit not only collects the spatial (X,Y,Z) location of the feature, but also enables the user to enter specific information about the site location and attach photographs of the feature and/or site.
  • 2nd Step: When the GPS unit has wireless connectivity to the MLGW network, it automatically transmits the raw collected data to a central database for subsequent processing.
  • 3rd Step: Using the native Trimble software, the data is reviewed for accuracy.
  • 4th Step: Assuming the collected data is acceptable, it is differently corrected and migrated to a staging feature dataset within the Enterprise GIS (inside dashed rectangle).
  • 5th Step:  Utilizing SSP/MLGW custom tools (discussed below), the data is migrated from the staging feature dataset to the gas system feature dataset.  At this point, it is part of the official GIS and on company gas maps.

Custom Tools

Significant care was taken to create tools that not only performed the desired task, they would also be simple to use. Flowcharts (image below) and diagrams were created.  

Tool A Flowchart

MLGW and SSP designed six tools to aid GIS staff (Image Below).  The tools are also outlined below:

Diagram of Custom Tools

Load GPS Data Tool (Tool A)

This tool is designed to acquire GPS data specific to a user-defined work request.  The GPS data is currently contained within an intermediate GPS staging feature dataset.  When the user identifies, selects, and loads the work request, the view displays and zooms to the extent of that spatial data for subsequent migration and use of the tools to follow (B-F).  

Load GPS Data Tool

Copy all Point Features Tool (Tool B)

The purpose of this tool is to migrate the fittings and valve features (specific to a work request loaded via Tool A) from the GPS staging database to the enterprise GIS database.

Copy all Point Features Tool

Copy all Selected Point Features Tool (Tool C)

The purpose of this tool is to migrate the selected fittings and valve features (specific to a work request loaded via Tool A)) from the GPS staging database to the enterprise GIS database.

Copy all Selected Point Features Tool

Transfer Pipe Data Tool (Tool D)

The purpose of this tool is to migrate the pipe attributes and attached images from a GPS-collected point (specific to a work request loaded via Tool A) to linear pipes in the enterprise GIS database.  It assumes that the pipe has been previously digitized.

Transfer Pipe Data Tool

Copy Attributes to Point Features Tool (Tool E)

This tool aids in the migration of valve and fitting attributes from a GPS-collected point (specific to a work request loaded via Tool A) to applicable points in the enterprise GIS database.

Copy Attributes to Point Features Tool

Replace Point Features Tool (Tool F)

The purpose of this tool is to replace enterprise GIS valves and fittings with GPS-collected points (specific to a work request loaded via Tool A) but retain the original location (XY) as double-precision attributes.

Replace Point Features Tool

Summary

MLGW’s new workflow promotes a more efficient management of information compared to the previous procedure.  For years, we have been able to collect GPS features and associate attributes. However, leveraging the above GIS tools, there is a seamless flow between field collection of gas features and posting to the enterprise GIS which reduces the potential of human error.

Over the next few months as the tools are continuously used, we look forward to hearing reports of their use and how they might be enhanced to meet the goals of the end users. 


About the Cowriter......

Clifton Phillips

Clifton Phillips is a Gas Integrity Engineer with MLGW.  He has been with MLGW for over six years.  He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a B.S. in Biosystems Engineering.