Blog Post created by bmeehan-esristaff Employee on Jan 12, 2018

   I recently read a blog about GIS in which the author used the term “broken record." The term dates back to the days when people made phonograph records (remember?) out of a breakable material. A crack caused the phonograph needle to get stuck in a groove. That part of the song repeated over and over. I have also been guilty of speaking like a broken record. I have said and written many times that a modern GIS is a platform for transformation. So here goes again.

   Some utilities still believe that a GIS is an application to make utility maps better and faster. Maps just like the old paper maps. That’s good and bad news. The good news is that GIS has modernized the use of maps at utilities. The bad news is, all too often, utilities continue to focus on the physical aspect of the map. The paper map. They focus on the look and feel. How to manage white space. What information to include on the map. What scale and size of the map. Sure, we often create pdf versions of the map, but they are, after all, electronic versions of paper maps.

   Repeating myself. GIS is a platform, not a just a map making machine. According to Phil Simon in his seminal book, The Age of the Platform, a platform “allows people to reach and connect with one another and obtain information.” This simple notion is transformational. A GIS or location platform simplifies the sharing of information in a spatial context.

   I used to work for a power company for years. I know that the simple sharing of up to date network information can be a challenge. Not having current and accurate data in the office and in the hands of field works has implications. Lost productivity. Longer restoration times. Safety issues. Violations of regulations. The ArcGIS platform is like the modern social media platforms. Where communication and sharing of information are immediate. Repeating myself again, the platform is not so much about the look and feel of a paper map. Instead, the value is its ability to access information, to create awareness of what and where something is happening and to analyze what might happen – all in real-time.

   Speaking of real-time. The new platform has the capability of consuming all kinds of real-time data from SCADA, AMI and ADMS systems to vehicle location data to social media platforms.

   At DistribuTECH 2018 in San Antonio, Esri will be showcasing its latest release, ArcGIS10.6. It is a true location platform. The new release enhances its already industry-leading technology. It adds new tools for greater spatial and big data analysis. It continues with its world-class image management. Esri will be showcasing its next generation of utility network management. The platform facilitates communication, collaboration, and coordination of activities, assets, and workers. Just like author Simon describes.

   Esri is the leader in network management for utilities with its database-driven connectivity model. Since the platform is services based, network functionality is across all platforms. It is not just available on the desktop. Esri has done this while keeping geographic based techniques.  Users have relied on these techniques for years. Esri has added 3-D network capability, detailed equipment modeling, containment, structural attachment, built-in schematic diagrams and much more.

   Esri has relied on its utility partners for years to build domain specific applications on its industry-leading platform. This will continue in earnest with the new Esri release. For example, Schneider Electric will be showcasing its new ArcFM11 and Designer11 products they built on the ArcGIS 10.6 technology. Esri will be also be hosting twelve partners directly in its booth.

   It’s still worth repeating and repeating (perhaps like a broken record, if anyone still remembers what that phrase means anymore.) A modern GIS is a platform for transforming how utilities work.

   Come to Esri’s booth 2525 and witness what a complete GIS platform really looks like and how it can transform your business.