Esri recently launched an ArcGIS Solution for managing gas utility data in ArcGIS Online. This is a pretty slick solution configuration and one that is definitely worthy of more than one blog post. With that said, there will be subsequent blog posts related to this solution in the coming months, and this post will focus on answering the following basic questions:
- What is Gas Data Management for ArcGIS Online?
- How difficult is it to deploy?
- Why is it important?
What is it?
Let’s start with the first question – what is it exactly? Gas Data Management is a packaged “solution” with pre-configured web maps & apps, dashboards, hosted feature layers, and an ArcGIS Pro project package. This is how it looks in ArcGIS Online:
Each web map, web app, and dashboard is pre-configured with specific layers to make it truly ready to go out of the box.
The packaged solution also has established groups, with each group having access to a relevant collection of maps, apps, and layers. It is quick and easy to invite or assign users to their respective groups to give them access to the apps and the data they need to begin working with the Gas Data Management solution.
Lastly, there is a Pro Project Package that is pre-configured with links to relevant data and established symbology for the feature layers.
How difficult is it to deploy?
Not difficult at all. In fact, it is straightforward and very quick. Esri also provides a great introduction to the Gas Data Management Solution here. From that page, you can also find guidance on deploying and configuring the solution in your allocation of ArcGIS Online.
While deploying the solution to ArcGIS Online is incredibly simple, there could be more steps involved if you’re planning to load existing data to the feature layers that come pre-configured with the solution. The good news is there are multiple options to achieve this. Of course, you could utilize the Append geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS Pro, or, you can use Data Loading Tools Toolbox provided by ESRI (more information here).
However, loading existing asset data is not a requirement, and the solution is ready for data collection via desktop, web, or mobile applications upon deployment.
Why is it important?
The answer to this question likely depends on who you ask, but here at SSP, we feel this particular solution is important for several key reasons. First, this is truly an out-of-the-box software as a service solution for collecting and managing your gas utility asset information. It is mostly pre-configured and fit for purpose and allows operators to hit the ground running with desktop, web, and mobile data collection and editing options.
Next, this is a lightweight solution for testing or piloting the gas utility network for your organization. Operators have the opportunity to load a subset of data, or perhaps one operating area or region, or for smaller utilities perhaps their entire asset footprint to this solution in ArcGIS Online to pilot the latest functionality.
While a full-scale Utility Network migration/implementation may be on the roadmap for a target date in the future, this solution allows operators to test drive certain components of the UN and get a feel for how it may integrate with certain web and mobile tools along with their organizational workflows.
Next, this solution comes with Web Maps that are configured to work with the new Esri Field Maps application. Field Maps will allow operators to collect and edit data in the field on their mobile devices within a variety of workflows. Perhaps you want to add a new service to your dataset – you can do that with this solution. Maybe you need to digitize the location of a field inspection and collect pertinent attribute information on the asset – you can do that with this solution. Or maybe you want to add notes to the map from either the mobile device or web/desktop app to collaborate with someone in the office or field, respectively – you can do that with this solution as well.
Finally, this solution is available at no additional cost if your organization is already utilizing ArcGIS Online.
In summary, the Gas Data Management Solution for ArcGIS Online is an affordable, efficient, and valuable solution for managing your gas utility data across desktop, web, and mobile clients. It is useful for organizations looking to deploy collaborative tools quickly and perhaps those looking to test out components of the utility network and how that might fit within their organizational practices.
Keep an eye out for additional blog posts in the coming months that will walk through a few representative gas utility data management workflows using the desktop, web, and mobile tools available within this solution.