Service Line Automation Mapping

geoOrganizer SLAM: Map your Gas Service Lines from paper records.

service-cardGISbiz, Inc. has performed indexing and data entry services for gas utility customer service cards for various clients. These cards can come in many different formats as the needs of the customer, the utility and industry regulations evolve. The service cards are filled out by maintenance crew personnel each of which have their own writing style, abbreviations, and ideas of what information is important to write down. For the most part, they all carry some basic information such as address, the location of the gas main, where the service enters the property, and service line material and footage.

Cards are indexed, scanned, and processed through data entry to produce a database table that can be queried and processed by other applications.

This level of processing is a common practice in the industry. GISbiz has taken the next step with this information. We have developed the tools and processes to transform the tabular service card information into representative service lines in GIS.

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GISbiz consulted with gas utility management professionals and field staff responsible for the creation and maintenance of their GIS. We discussed the details of service line installation and maintenance from initial installation through in-service maintenance. Many “what-if” scenarios were talked about, edge-cases identified, and an achievable end goal was set. We identified the information and processes needed that would enable a majority of service cards to be mapped with a representative line. A representative line was defined as a service line that connects to the proper gas main and enters the property at the specified location.

Only a few basic pieces of information are needed to generate service lines using our process:

  • Service card data in a tabular format with these attributes
    • Street address
    • Dimension ties (main tie and service location)
    • Optional attributes to link to customer data
  • Gas distribution network (only the gas main geometry is used, no attributes are needed)
  • Street network with street names
  • Parcel/property polygons or points with address information
  • Optionally, meter locations to refine the service endpoint

Once the data has been prepared and loaded into ArcMap, a single button click will start the generation process. After a short time, the service line generation completes. All records are flagged with a status indicating the level of processing achieved for each line. In cases where a service line could not be mapped, the record is flagged with the reasons. In cases of a systematic problem with the reference data, such as an alternate street name difference, the data can be updated and the affected service lines quickly regenerated.

The generation tool is an intelligent rule-based expert system. The rules have been developed using the knowledge obtained during in-depth discussions, historical information, and innovative spatial analysis techniques. The rules can be customized to accommodate customer specific situations such as ignoring cards in a specific area due to natural disasters. geoSLAM: Quickly map your gas utility service lines using our Service Line Automation Mapping software.

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