Have You Heard About Cityworks for Electric and Gas Utilities?

September 6, 2016 — Ryan Potts

For many utilities around the world, the Esri ArcGIS platform has become a mission-critical enterprise system for documenting and managing their network assets, doing capital design, and supporting operations and maintenance workflows.

Many utility workflows and business processes now depend on GIS data for all or part of the work and analysis necessary to make impactful decisions or solve network problems.

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Asset Management Systems (AMS) provide expanded capabilities for linking design and purchasing costs, better insight into asset condition, higher visibility into maintenance costs, and more accurate inputs into preventative maintenance plans.

Utilities who only manage these business processes and analyses with GIS software quickly realize that a more focused toolset is required to meet the dynamic needs of the utility.

Cityworks AMS, with its GIS-centric approach, is a recognized industry leader in enabling organizations to manage their capital assets and infrastructure, while automating the work processes around the operations and maintenance of these items.

While Cityworks has become a well-known name in the municipal GIS world, the key value points of the platform translate directly to utility business requirements for asset management as well.

SSP Innovations has recently begun working with Cityworks to demonstrate why the platform is a serious contender for any GIS-centric utility.

Key Concepts and Benefits

Utilities will find the features that Cityworks provides fit nicely within the current business processes that are already in place within their organization.

Whether service requests, work orders, or inspections, Cityworks provides the ability to standardize the process of generating new work, tying that work to an asset or set of assets within the GIS, and tracking work performed in real time so that it can be analyzed and reported as needed.

All of this is done while sitting on top of the utility’s ArcGIS-based system of record for utility assets.

Service Requests

By creating templates, utilities can standardize the information gathered from the customer in the event of a request for service, while quickly finding customer locations with the GIS-based customer registry or geocoding services.

This allows the work to be tied to a location in the network immediately.  As the request is completed, labor costs are automatically tracked and applied to project or operating budgets, providing real-time insight into current finances.

Service request templates ensure that the necessary information is gathered for every request.

Figure 1: Service request templates ensure that the necessary information is gathered for every request.


Work Orders

If a service request requires additional work to be performed on an asset or group of assets, a work order can be created to set up a task list for the crew and track the labor, equipment, and materials needed for the work to be completed.  Work orders are always tied to a geospatial asset, so that work order history and asset health information can all be queried geographically.

Cityworks provides a centralized work order management system tied to a utility's GIS-based asset repository.

Figure 2: Cityworks provides a centralized work order management system tied to a utility’s GIS-based asset repository.


A key component of an effective utility maintenance plan is the standardization and automation of maintenance and inspection schedules.  Cityworks provides out-of-the-box standard inspection templates based on regulatory and industry requirements, while also providing configurable inspections for organization-specific needs.

Cyclical inspections and maintenance can also be planned, delegated, and tracked, removing the need for supervisors or maintenance personnel to track these schedules using paper, spreadsheets, or other, non-automated means.

Cityworks provides out-of-the-box standard inspection templates or configurable inspections for organization-specific needs.

Figure 3: Cityworks provides out-of-the-box standard inspection templates or configurable inspections for organization-specific needs.

Inspection results will then feed into a “Condition Score”, providing the utility insight into the condition of their assets and allowing them to proactively determine whether equipment needs to be repurposed, repaired, or replaced.

GIS-centric Solution

Nearly all of a utility’s work activities can be tied to an asset with a location, or just a geographic location itself.  With this in mind, Cityworks is designed as a GIS-centric solution, meaning that all components of the application suite – the asset registry, the work activities, and the data captured for the work activities – are directly tied to the GIS database.

GIS is not an optional add-on, but the core foundation that the work and asset management tools are built upon.

The concept of being GIS-centric has six key characteristics:

1) No redundancy – GIS-centric software utilizes the ArcGIS geodatabase and only the geodatabase as the authoritative asset database for all assets, requiring no interface, no syncing, and no redundancy.

2) Configurable – GIS-centric software allows for maximum flexibility in designing the asset database for virtually any asset.  Design and create it in the geodatabase, and a GIS-centric software is configurable to it, and not the other way around.

3) Non-proprietary – GIS-centric software builds on the geodatabase as an open and interoperable database, inherently spatial, with well-known and understood data structure elements.  The asset data cataloged and maintained by an organization in the geodatabase is not owned by the software vendor.  The organization fully owns and controls their data.

4) Updates – GIS-centric software relies solely on ArcGIS feature services to update the authoritative asset data to ensure data integrity, quality assurance, and constraints are maintained.  This is critical because ArcGIS is an enterprise system, and the ArcGIS database is used by many systems.

5) Web Map – GIS-centric software, including any applications provided, can access an ArcGIS web map without constraints.  The applications are configurable to use the web map as-is and do not require a vendor-specific web map.

6) Single Sign-on – GIS-centric software supports a single sign-on identity.  An organization can choose ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS as their identity storehouse, and the GIS-centric software and associated apps will support this with a single sign-on.

Cityworks is a true GIS-centric solution with all components directly tied to the GIS database.

Figure 4: Cityworks is a true GIS-centric solution with all components directly tied to the GIS database.


The capabilities of Cityworks AMS provides instantaneous value for GIS-centric utilities looking to revolutionize their asset and work management processes.

The prospect of centralized service request and work order management, predictive failure analysis, and more streamlined inspection and maintenance plans has the potential to provide significant time and cost savings for utilities – all while leveraging your existing investment in enterprise GIS.

Join us in transforming your utility GIS into a full Cityworks AMS today!

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Ryan Potts works as a Senior Consultant for the Utility and Telecommunications consulting company SSP Innovations, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado.  Ryan has over 11 years of Experience in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), more than 6 of these specializing in Product Sales, Management, and Development of GIS capabilities to support fiber Read more

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