Exporting GIS Data to Synergi Electric

May 23, 2016 — Corey Blakeborough  [10:51]

Using DNV GL Synergi Electric (formerly SynerGEE Electric) with GIS data can be useful, but the data often becomes stale due to the effort of translating data between the two systems. Corey Blakeborough walks you though the differences between data models in GIS and Synergi Electric, and how SSP’s tool helps this data stay up-to-date in your Synergi Electric implementation. If you’re ready to learn about exporting GIS data, this video is for you.

Interested in how SSP Innovations can help you move geospatial data from one system to another? Our integrations services have been meeting utility needs for more than ten years.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Corey Blakeborough with SSP Innovations.

We're going to be talking to you today about Synergi Electric and the capability of the GIS to be able to export that data into DNV GL Synergi (formerly SynerGEE). Specifically, you will notice here it is spelt with an I if you spelt with two e's that's okay too, that is the old version. Version 4.0 and on are supported by the tool we are going to be talking about here today.

A lot of utilities use Synergi for analysis and just to further extend the abilities of their data in their assets in the field, but it can be very difficult to map GIS data to Synergi electric data. What often happens is this data gets stale in Synergi so the effort that it takes to effectively export this data and import it into Synergi can be difficult, and as such a lot of times the data used in Synergi is really old and out of date and it's way too hard for utlities to be able to effectively constantly move new data into Synergi electric. We've effectively set up to make it easier for a company to be able to export their data and import it into Synergi electric as often as they need without messing with the configurations or having to get down into the grind details after the first time. Essentially, there are lot of differences between GIS and Synergi electric data which is a lot of the complications in software in the first place. In GIS, for a given geometric network, you have the concept of edges and junctions.

So a point here on the map will be considered a junction. A line is considered an edge. This directly corresponds to features on the map as well, so an edge is also going to be a line feature. A junction such as this one, where symbolizing a switch here is going to be a point feature. It's fairly straight forward, so the edges and the junctions line up directly with features on the map. In Synergi electric it's not quite that simple. This point on, Synergi electric is actually called a node, and this line is called a section. The difference is the extended data here beyond just the shape data of the network is going to be characterized differently. This switch is going to be considered an equipment, and this equipment doesn't actually correspond with this node. It instead corresponds with this section. In Synergi you are effectively allowed to place equipment on either the “from node” or the “to node” of the section instead of actually being placed on the node. That's important because that completely differs from this functionality and on the GIS side. So effectively, when we consider a feature, you have line feature and a point feature from GIS and the point features’ shape data corresponds to a node, but the extended data say if it symbolizes something like a switch will correspond to this piece of equipment. The line feature still does directly correspond to a section.

So you can see a lot of this data differs between the two systems. We are going to need to have an effective method to be able to transfer and translate the data over into Synergi, and that is what so many people struggle with. The next step here is for us to build the tool to effectively export this data. Now Synergi does have multiple methods of importing data into their application, and one of them is Middle link. Middle link is actually a CSV file format. The Middle link CSV file has each line considered as a directive, so the directives each have codes that corresponds to what they are going to do once they are loaded into Synergi. For example, if you have a row that starts with 101, that is effectively to create a node on the map in Synergi. Any additional details are explicitly defined in the Middle link's schema and effectively the node, for example, that would be the coordinates of the point on the map. Just to give a couple of other examples, the 201 record would be to create a section. And then beyond that, there are some other extended features that you can use. 301, I believe, creates a feeder.

There are also some other applications for extended features, like 1301 creates a transformer. Additionally, you have noticed that they are going up by 100, so any additional records between those two are even more attributes about one of these particular types of objects. There is a section directive, for example, that creates vertices on a section. So, if it's not a simple straight line, you can add the vertices. For a transformer you can start to add additional data about that asset. So now that we have the Middle link format, the next step is to be able to export the data into this CSV format, and that's where our export tool comes in. The cool thing is, all the configuration is stored right here in our geodatabase which is great. You don't have to keep doing this every single time. Effectively, there's two different forms of configuration that we use. One of them is to be able to map object classes and feature classes in GIS over to objects in Synergi. For example, we will take the primary overhead and underground conductor feature classes and we'll go over and map them to sections in Synergi Eletric. We'll take a switch feature class and we'll map to the switch object in Synergi as well, and that will be mapped into the table in the geodatabase. In addition, the Middle link schema has a lot of specific configuration for these particular directives, and those are going to be able to be mapped in addition to that table configuration through model names.

So, we are going to be able to assign model names to each individual class it's being used to fields, and those fields can be used then when the system is going through the network and place right here in the Middle ink file. What that allows us to do is that our tool will trace downstream through the logical network to find the extends of the network, then it will go through and find the features for each of these object. And when it does, it will check that configuration table to see what object corresponds to. It will go through all the fields and grab attributes from those fields if they are configured to be used in the Middle link export. Then all that data is poured out into these middle linked directives, so the export goes through and it effectively converts the data into this CSV format. Now you have a file that is dated specifically to when you exported this data that you can keep if you even wanted to for historical purposes, and you can do this automatically or manually. So effectively, you can use our nightly batch suite to populate a CSV file in the middle link format at any interval you like and you can store them if you want to, so that's another added benefit.

Whenever you need to, you can import the middle link data through Synergi's native interface into the application. Once your data is loaded into Synergi Electric, you're not necessarily done, you're going to need to be able to massage and analyze your data as necessary from that point going forward with Synergi's additional capabilities. But additionally, Synergi also has a data model that is a little more restrictive than that of GIS. For example, let's say that you have a complex edge here, so this line corresponding to this one down here is all one feature, and let's say you have another conductor branching out from that point. This conductor, when it's loaded into Synergi, is going to be considered unfed because of its more stringent standards for data where in GIS it may still be considered part of the network. So, when you load data into Synergi sometimes it gives you good opportunities to analyze your data and see effectively what is wrong and what needs to better meet standards.

Some additional capabilities you would need to consider a lot of the time, when you are looking at an attribute, you'll need to know whether or not you need to use code or the description, if it's a domain value. So, we have configuration options for that, but in addition when those values go into Synergi, you'll need to check your data warehouses and make sure they support that. Because, otherwise, you are going to get some unknown values in your data when it is loaded into Synergi.

So, as you can see, we have provided an effective way in order to better enable utilities to export their data into Synergi. We have actually implemented this at several utilities now, and we have seen a lot of success from it. We are always looking to improve the product and add more hooks in the middle link. As a whole we hope that you have seen great value from this tool, and please contact us if you have any more information that you would like to know about it.

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Corey Blakeborough

Corey Blakeborough is a Team Lead, Senior Consultant at the Utility & Telecommunications GIS consulting company SSP Innovations in Centennial, Colorado. Corey has over five years of experience with SSP, providing a variety of GIS and work management solutions.

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