What You Missed at Pipeline Week 2016

October 8, 2016 — Clarke Wiley

2016’s version of Pipeline Week, held in Woodlands, TX, provided a great opportunity to connect with Pipeline/Integrity/GIS professionals along with some informative technical sessions.  Over the past few years, the PODS Association has joined up with GITA to combine forces and provide a fully packed conference schedule that I find to be beneficial year after year.

If you were unable to attend, here’s the recap from SSP Innovations!

Pipeline Week kicked off with the opening session and welcome from the GITA and PODS committees to a packed house in the Marriott Woodlands.  We got a great overview and perspective of where we are as an industry and what to expect from the conference during the week ahead.

The speakers and keynote presentation summarized not only why we need to manage pipeline/integrity GIS programs the way that we do, but how the week would help us understand use-cases/data management while satisfying old and new regulatory requirements.

The opening session transitioned into an open forum with panelists representing operators, Esri and service providers.  This created an opportunity to hear the perspective of each panelist around how they support everything from cloud based architectures to document or asset management system integrations.

It was nice to hear from Jeff Allen, Esri’s Global Pipeline Practice Manager, on Esri’s perspective with each topic and how the upcoming ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing tools fit in.

After the morning’s opening sessions, the conference transitioned into three tracks:  Pipeline Integrity, Asset Management and Pipeline Gathering/Energy Diversification.  Tuesday afternoon provided some insight into how organizations are solving similar problems that SSP is for their clients.

It’s a great opportunity to compare notes with current clients, former colleagues and other leaders in the space.

The session that stuck out for me in the afternoon was the summary on the Liquid and Gas Mega Rules.  This was a great summary on what the end goal is for both liquid and gas pipeline operators and what the new rules will likely enforce. Everyone has to start thinking about these rules now and how our data management and technology can satisfy the new requirements.

Tuesday closed out with the networking reception in the exhibit hall.  It’s always a good opportunity to see and talk to familiar faces while reaching out and connecting with new ones.  One big difference this year was the presence Esri had in the middle of the exhibit hall.

Their booth was constantly full with operators and providers talking through the upcoming ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing extensions, deployment patterns, the upcoming release dates and performing demos.

It was a good opportunity for operators to see some of the web GIS pipeline templates along with the new tools SSP has been lucky to see prior to release.  The response was as expected…everyone is excited for these tools to hit the market and had a number of questions on how they could get their pipeline GIS environment ready for the new extensions.

Wednesday morning kicked off with the PODS User Plenary and provided a great overview on the state of PODS, especially the progress towards the PODS Next Gen data model.  Its fantastic to see the progress that PODS has made in a short amount of time and that the model will be a great option for existing PODS clients who want to utilize the new Esri APR tools.

The presentation got into some good details around the Next Gen core, new capabilities and release timelines.  As the industry looks forward, I see that this will be a great option for pure transmission pipeline operators, especially existing PODS members/users.

Following the opening PODS plenary, the conference continued into technical sessions and included some good use cases for data management and associated best practices.  Following along with Tuesday’s theme, we found that the most beneficial sessions revolved around the new updates and panel discussions for regulatory requirements.

Representatives from NPMS, DOT, operators and service providers painted a clear picture on the regulatory landscape, data output requirements and what to expect moving forward.  It shows that the regulatory bodies are expecting more and more from our GIS system of record.

Wednesday evening closed out with the well-attended and always fun Casino night.  Every year provides a great opportunity to win some good prizes and sit down next to someone you may have never met before!

Thursday morning closed out Pipeline Week with a deep dive into the PODS Next Gen model.  This was a great presentation led by the PODS Next Gen technical committee that went much deeper than the PODS plenary session.  We were able to get under the hood of the model and see how things have progressed and understand how organizations like SSP will implement the model once its released.

Kudos to the PODS team and we are looking forward to getting our hands on it!

As always, Pipeline Week is a conference I look forward to every year.  It is one of the most focused events for pipeline GIS and data management in our space.  SSP had some great meetings with existing clients, got to talk with some new faces around their current GIS architectures and attended some informative sessions to stay up to speed on regulatory requirements.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend this year’s conference, feel free to reach out and discuss your roadmap and definitely look to attend next year!

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Clarke Wiley

Clarke Wiley is the Director of Pipeline at the Utility, Telecommunications and Pipeline GIS consulting company SSP Innovations in Centennial, Colorado and has been working in GIS pipeline software solutions, integrity management and data management for over 10 years.

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