SSP Innovations has written many articles showcasing the benefits of combining the GIS as the system of record for the locations of utility assets and equipment with work and asset management systems. Historically, these integrations have been performed using direct connections between databases of both systems, but with the Web GIS capabilities the ArcGIS Platform technology provides along with Maximo Spatial’ s latest support for web services, an improved, services-oriented architecture is now available. CoServ (one of SSP’s longtime customers) recently finished a project with SSP to provide full Maximo Spatial capabilities via this services-oriented architecture. These added capabilities include being able to view the electric distribution network directly from a map within Maximo. This allows querying a location in Maximo and being able to view its spatial location, along with selecting features within the GIS and accessing location and asset information stored within Maximo. Other functional improvements to the existing design and as-built processes were added which resulted in improved workflows and a more complete work/asset management system for the Maximo users throughout the organization.
Systems of Record
A set of core principles for the interactions between the two systems and how they would support the user base were agreed upon early in the project:
- The GIS will be the system of record for location-based information
- Maximo will be the system of record for all assets
- Keep users in their home system as much as possible
- Design the interfaces to minimize the duplication of data between systems
- Ensure new interfaces and processes are streamlined and simple
These guidelines helped to focus the efforts throughout the project and were represented well in the system implementation that was a result of this effort.
It’s all about location
The cornerstone of the integration between the two systems was the concept of a location, and how each system represented these entities. From the standpoint of IBM Maximo, a location is:
- A physical place with boundaries
- An operating or energized position where equipment resides or where readings will be captured specific to the location
- A repair or other holding location where equipment is stored (non-inventory)
Locations in Maximo are entities in the database that can participate in work, house assets, and be visualized on the map. In terms of the integration with the ArcFM Designer™ GIS, the operating or energized positions were the primary Maximo locations that were linked to GIS features.
So, what in the GIS data model represents an operating or energized position where equipment resides? The ArcFM™ Electric Distribution Data Model has the concept of “bank” features with related “unit” records. The combination of the bank and subsequent units were originally meant to model the location of electric equipment and the equipment or “assets” that existed at that location within the GIS database. These concepts aligned very well with the IBM Maximo locations and assets that were outlined earlier.
The final design establishes a link between the GIS bank and unit related records and the IBM Maximo Locations and Assets by storing the primary keys for the records of one system in the corresponding records in the other system. In terms of the GIS, the unique identifier for each bank feature and unit related record is its GUID or Globally Unique Identifier. On the Maximo side, the unique identifier for a location is its Location Number (MXLOCNUM – a database generated primary key) and for an asset is its Asset Number (MXASSETNUM – a database generated primary key).
Tying the Systems Together
Establishing primary key/foreign key links between objects in each system representing the same location or asset was the critical piece of tying the two systems together. To accommodate this, the GIS bank feature classes needed to have three, Maximo focused fields added to their attributes:
The GIS unit records also needed to have Maximo focused fields added to their attribute table as well
Within Maximo, an attribute named “WMS GUID” was added to locations and assets within Maximo which would be the place where the GUID for the GIS feature or object corresponding to the location or asset would be stored.
When completely linked, a single-phase overhead transformer would be linked between the GIS and Maximo in this fashion:
To keep this information in sync, changes were made to both ArcFM™ and Maximo to manage the creation and updating of these identifiers through the design and as-builting process.
Enhancing the Workflow
Users who already had experience working in the integrated IBM Maximo/ArcFM Designer™ system saw very minor changes in their workflow. Work Orders were still being generated in Maximo, sent to ArcFM Designer™ via the integration framework when a Graphic Work Design was needed, designs were pre-posted to provide early access to GIS data throughout the organization, and then completed using construction and as-builting processes. For a more detailed overview of the pre-posting and partial energization concepts, be sure to reference this previous SSP Blog Post.
Behind the scenes, these tasks were enhanced with a number of updates to ArcFM Designer™ and IBM Maximo to establish the linkages outlined previously to support the spatial integration of the two systems. One critical change was the auto-population of the MXCREATIONSTATE value to 1 on pre-post for GIS features that need to have corresponding locations created in Maximo. This, combined with an automated SSP Batch Mini process to synchronize the dedicated Maximo version with SDE.Default, allowed the Maximo Cron to capture newly pre-posted GIS features that needed to have a corresponding Maximo location created. Once the Cron successfully created the corresponding location in Maximo, the MXCREATIONSTATE on the GIS feature was set to 2 and the MXLOCNUM field on the GIS feature was populated with the corresponding location number primary key from Maximo, establishing the link outlined in the previous section. The result of the process outlined above was the seamless creation and linkage of GIS bank features with Maximo locations.
As-Builting completes the workflow
As final construction documentation and data sheet information returns from the field, users are tasked with assigning the assets that were installed at each location using the Maximo system. Given that the spatial link has been created during the pre-posting process, users have the option of using the map to identify the spatial location of where the assets were placed or searching the Maximo locations. Once at the location, users will assign the specific assets (Transformers, Reclosers, Capacitors, etc.) outlined in the construction documents.
As assets are being assigned to locations in Maximo, a second process is occurring behind the scenes to link the Maximo Asset information with the GIS data. The reader may recall that the GIS unit records in the ArcFM™ Electric Distribution Data Model also had Maximo specific attributes applied to them. As the Maximo users are placing assets at a specific location, the Maximo Integration Framework (MIF) is querying the related units associated to the linked bank feature in GIS, and then assigning the Maximo Asset Number to the first available unit record in the GIS. This creates the second, asset specific link between the GIS and Maximo.
The ArcGIS Platform provides the Services Oriented Architecture
The integration points and linkages outlined above were all made possible by the Services Oriented Architecture the ArcGIS Platform provides. Users utilizing the Maximo Spatial web map are referencing ArcGIS Server map and feature services providing access to the Enterprise GIS information. When features are pre-posted during the design process, the Maximo Cron is referencing feature services for each bank feature where corresponding Maximo locations need to be created, creating the locations in Maximo, and then using those same feature services to update the MXCREATIONSTATE and MXLOCNUM values. Similarly, on asset moves in Maximo, GIS related unit records and their MXASSETNUM values are being edited via feature services as well.
The use of the Services Oriented Architecture made available by the ArcGIS platform allowed CoServ to implement this integration in a simple yet effective manner. Exposing GIS data to the Maximo system was done strictly using out of the box, ArcGIS Server map and feature services, and those exact same feature services allowed Maximo to update GIS information accordingly based on Maximo processing tasks.
An ever-evolving system
While this blog post has provided the basics to the integration between ArcFM Designer™ and Maximo Spatial, there were additional project intricacies that were not covered in this post; managing the removal or replacement of locations and assets in the field and their impacts and GIS and Maximo data, providing the ability to view Maximo asset information from within the GIS map. As with all integration projects, there were additional “nice-to-haves” identified as users were working with the newly integrated systems as well. This user interest in improving the system will no-doubt help CoServ further refine the integration capabilities and provide even more value to the business.