UPDM 2018: One Data Model to Implement Them All

Blog Post created by tdewitte-esristaff Employee on Jan 5, 2018

One Data Model to Implement Them All

Using one data model to model pipe systems from wellhead to customer meter

By Tom DeWitte

                Growing up, one of my favorite book series was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  In this story there is a magical ring, which has the following inscription:  One Ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.  This magical ring was all powerful and capable of controlling all of the other magical rings.  In the world of oil and gas industry data models, there has long been a search to find a single data model which can be used to implement the full range of oil and gas sub-systems.  This single data model would be capable of supporting implementations of gathering systems, storage systems, transmission systems and gas distribution systems. Over the years, several different data models have successfully modeled portions of these sub-systems, but none has managed to be able to support all of these sub-systems.  That is, until the release of Esri’s Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM). With the release of UPDM 2018 Edition, the oil and gas industry finally has one data model to implement them all.

                UPDM grew out of the gas distribution world.  But over the years it has consistently evolved and refined itself.  First, it successfully evolved to support gas distribution and gas transmission sub-systems.  Then, it evolved further to support the needs of the hazardous liquids transmission industry.  Most recently, UPDM evolved to support the unique assets of the gathering industry.  With the release of UPDM 2018 Edition, this has been expanded to support storage sub-systems.

Why is this Important?

                Why does the oil and gas industry need a single data model template capable of being applied to all sub-systems in a pipe network? The reason is that the industry has changed and is continuing to change.  Over the last several decades, there has been a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.  These mergers and acquisitions have changed the corporate makeup of both the oil and gas industries.  Increasingly, companies manage and operate more than one sub-system.  In the gas industry this consolidation has led to mega gas pipeline systems. Companies such as Southern California Gas, and Southern Company Gas, operate pipe systems which start at the storage system wellheads, transmit the gas through a transmission pipe system and then deliver the gas to customers through the distribution system.  If you were responsible for creating a geospatial model for these mega pipe systems, how many representations of a pipe segment would you want?  What these industries have been looking for is one data model to bind them all together.

So I can manage the entire pipe system in one data model

Yes.  UPDM is designed to allow the entire pipe system to be modeled in one data model.  Additionally the data model has evolved to allow all pipe segments to exist in one featureclass. The attribute ASSETTYPE is used to distinguish which sub-system the pipe participates in.  With the UPDM 2018 Edition this has been expanded to include a second attribute called; REGULATORYTYPE.  REGULATORYTYPE distinguishes which sub-system the pipe segment participates in from a regulatory perspective.  In the United States, the 2003 Transmission Integrity rule causes many high pressure distribution pipe segments which are operated at a pressure of greater than 20% Specified Minimum Yield Strength (SMYS) to have to be managed as transmission pipe.  Managing sub-system classification at the attribute level greatly reduces the number of featureclasses required to store and manage the assets in a pipe system.  This in turn improves performance by reducing the number of calls to the database.

What if I only have one sub-system?

                There is a saying in the pipe industry of “pipe is pipe”.  What this means is that a coated steel pipe sitting in the warehouse can be installed in any pipe sub-system as long as it meets the design specifications.  Or stated another way, the warehouse does not necessarily organize its pipe by sub-system, so why would the GIS system? Having only one featureclass for pipes, only one featureclass for devices such as valves, and only one featureclass for junctions such as welds, couplings and plastic fusions, means that the data model does not have to change depending on what sub-system is being modeled.  All that needs to be modified are the subtypes and coded domain lists.  This greatly simplifies implementation.

How do I know that this actually works?

                UPDM is not a new data model.  It has been around since 2014.  During that time it has been downloaded from the website over 3800 times.  More importantly, during that time it has been successfully used in ArcGIS implementations at gathering companies, transmission companies, distribution companies and combined or vertically integrated companies. Put, another way, we know it works because it is the default data model Esri and its primary business partners use when assisting a customer in implementing a new ArcGIS system.

Where can I get UPDM 2018 Edition?

                UPDM 2018 Edition is a data model template that Esri provides at additional no cost.  It can be downloaded from the geonet web site at: :

                The Utility and Pipeline Data Model 2018 Edition is the first data model in the oil and gas industry to successfully provide a single data model template to support implementations in gathering, storage, transmission and distribution sub-systems. This proven single data model template simplifies implementations by providing a consistent representation of pipe assets regardless of sub-system.  UPDM 2018 Edition is the one data model to implement them all.


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