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Enterprise GIS Roadmap Helps Midwestern Utility

Enterprise GIS Roadmap Gives Utility a Plan to Consolidate Systems and Processes

Status: Completed


The Need: A utility wanted to understand how an enterprise GIS could help tie together all of their disparate tools — including those for asset management, design, operations, and field usage for their gas and electric distribution networks. 


The Background: This midwestern utility is a customer-owned electric and natural gas cooperative. 

The Challenge: 

The utility had been using a number of disparate technology solutions throughout the utility to manage both gas and electric assets. The utility did not have integrations between these systems so there was a manual process to extract, convert and load data between the different applications such as StakeOut, Windmil and others for field users. The utility was relying primarily on paper maps for field usage. There was no central data repository in place for the gas and electric network models that could be effectively shared and consumed by office and field users outside of the native 3rd party applications. 

The utility was interested in how an enterprise GIS vision could help tie together all of the different asset management, design, operations and field usage needs for their gas and electric distribution networks. 

Esri ArcGIS was the preferred platform to enable the utility achieve an enterprise GIS vision. The GIS platform needed to be analyzed within the context of the current five-year technology roadmap to examine opportunities to capture value for both gas and electric stakeholders within the organization now and into the future.

In 2016, the utility contracted with SSP to assess the current use of data within the organization as it relates to GIS and recommend where the utility could better utilize the Esri platform. SSP embarked on creating an enterprise GIS roadmap for the utility, which outlined a vision for use of the Esri platform, as well as guidance to help educate the utility on the current trends in the industry for utilities, and finally to document the current opportunities to implement GIS enterprise-wide to help improve data sharing and network maintenance within the organization. 

The Solution: Creating an Enterprise GIS Roadmap

SSP first met with the utility remotely to cover the high-level goals and expected outcomes of the enterprise GIS roadmap. Following this call, SSP traveled onsite to the utility and met with key personnel to understand the current architecture and usage for all aspects of Esri and third-party software, including: 

  • ArcMap
  • ArcCatalog
  • ArcGIS Server
  • ArcGIS Engine
  • ArcReader
  • ArcGIS Online (including Collector, Explorer, etc.)
  • StakeOut
  • KMZ/Paper maps
  • Dispatch OMS
  • Windmil Map
  • Windmil EA
  • Synergi (formerly SynerGEE) for Gas
  • Cayenta / Work Management
  • Trimble GPS
  • Clevest AVL
  • Others as applicable
In addition, SSP explored additional business uses of ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS for the utility.

The Result: Enterprise GIS Roadmap 

Following the onsite workshop, SSP returned home to create a complete assessment and recommendation document for the utility. The resultant enterprise GIS roadmap detailed the current solution with a focus on providing the utility with guidance for how to best embrace the Esri platform. Recommendations included opportunities that were applicable today, as well as guidance for how to prepare themselves for the shift to a more enterprise GIS-centric organization in the coming years.

The recommendations included:

  • Architectural implications
  • Business utilization of the Esri platform
  • An outlined path for the utility to adopt an enterprise geodatabase to house their gas and electric networks
  • Proposed integration opportunities to improve workflow and eliminate manual data work
  • Identification of all GIS data usage patterns, alongside an opportunity to expose this data through ArcGIS Server with either Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online — to improve data integrity, decision making and efficiency while decreasing the dependence on paper maps and manual data translations.