Planning for Utility Network Integration

September 24, 2020 — Geoffrey West

SSP Innovations was recently contracted as the System Integrator (SI) for a major utility. Our customer took part in the Utility Network Advantage Program to assist in migrating from ArcFM to the Utility Network with ArcGIS Pro 2.6 and ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8 Utility Network. This blog article outlines how SSP conducted initial workshops, planning, and design of the integrations.

Workshops

To successfully identify how the new UN model will map against the integration points, workshops were held to determine what data was needed and how the data will move between systems. The integrations are currently provided were sourced from their ArcFM Geometric Network.  In the workshops, we reviewed the legacy state of the integration, including data requirements and other components such as the ArcFM Network Adapter. SSP was tasked to deliver integration solutions from the Utility Network to Oracle Network Management System (NMS), CYME, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). SCADA uses the GIS model and attribute information for devices. The information is used to build models and displays in SCADA. Oracle NMS operates as the utility’s Outage Management System to allow operators to keep track of outage states and restoration times. CYME is an application used by Distribution Planning engineers, which takes the extract from the ArcFM Network  Adapter representing a single (or set) of circuit(s) including consumption data from the utilities customer information system and allows simulation of various cases in order to better plan upgrades or longer-term modifications to circuit configuration and/or facilities on circuits.

Planning

After reviewing the legacy and to be a state of the integrations, SSP began planning how the integrations would be executed in the new environment.  There are many differences in how the Network model is accessed in the Utility Network as opposed to the Geometric Network.  Firstly, since the UN is a service-oriented architecture (SOA) it gives end-users much more flexibility in how data is accessed and integrated into 3rd party systems. With the deprecation of the of ArcFM Network Adapter for the utility – we immediately planned to use the Export Subnetwork REST API call that is available as out of the box functionality with an ESRI Utility Network Implementation for our source data.  The export subnetwork capability became available in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.  The resultant output is a JSON that can be consumed, or in this case transformed by outside systems. This operation allows for other processes such as the ones mentioned above to be executed.  Secondly, for custom integrations, the customer purchased SSP’s Productivity.  This allowed our customers to use custom plugins that could be built on top Productivity Services leveraging the Utility Network.

Design

Each integration component has different use cases and functionality, however, the overall goal for SSP was to design a solution that integrates the Utility Network to the applications.   The ArcFM Network Adapter which leveraged the Geometric Network as an input and the output was in the form of an XML for Oracle NMS and SCADA to consume while CYME uses ASCII.  With the help of SSPs Productivity, Productivity Services, and Automation Services a solution was designed for the utility to be able to export subnetwork to JSON, build plugins on top of automation services for aggregation functions in addition to schedule jobs to be executed at the client’s preference.  To support the input format of XML, SSP developed a custom converter from JSON to XML. This transformation to XML provided the utility with the ArcGIS Pro 2.6 export subnetwork functionality to be able to deliver the subnetwork and assets to the OMS, SCADA, and CYME. Additionally, for customization such as the ability to export dirty feeders and annotation SSP leveraged the REST API with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.   The ability to be able to integrate the high fidelity Utility Network  model into other systems shows how utilities can truly harness the power of the Utility Network  in addition to SSPs out of the box and customizable tools to meet the requirements of legacy workflows to support business units and operations

Conclusion

The workshop, planning, and design phases for this customer have proven pivotal in SSP driving cutting edge solutions for integrations against the Utility Network.  Our work has encompassed both out of the box tools and custom tools to meet our customer’s business use cases.  With the combination of the Utility Network and SSP products utilities can experience endless possibilities in working with a digital Network model.  The preliminary steps of the customer purchasing the Utility Network Advantage Program allowed us to understand the overall breadth and complexity of the integrations.  Gathering such information allowed us to design a solution that easily integrated with the customer’s target environment.  Furthermore, our forward-thinking design will open doors to endless possibilities in using the Utility Network and SOA.    We look forward to implementing this solution and others that are similar for this customer and others.

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Geoffrey West

Solution Architect

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