Mobile GIS offers exciting opportunities to apply GIS technology in a plethora of new ways. In this post I wanted to share some of the details of a mobile GIS project we are working on for a large gas utility. The work is focused on the utilities gas pipelines, using mobile GIS and GeoEvents to track excavators.
Mobile GIS and GeoEvents for Utilities
The new ArcGIS GeoEvent processor from Esri is a powerful new service. It allows the tracking of vehicles in real time. Should a zone or buffer be entered, an actionable alert can be generated. Safety is an important element in pipeline management. This is particularly true in highly populated areas. Work done in and around pipelines needs to be monitored very carefully. In particular excavation, or digging, in areas close to a pipeline is a particular concern. Using a smartphone or tablet (iPhone, iPad or Android/Windows equivalent) it is now possible, using the GeoEvent processor, to build a mobile app which tracks excavators. Three phases are critical:
1) An excavator enters a zone or buffer within a certain distance of a pipeline.
2) The excavator is in motion within the buffer.
3) The excavator is stationary within the buffer.
The mobile device with installed mobile app is placed in the excavator cab. As the excavator moves the app send position data, using the inbuilt GPS, to an ArcGIS GeoEvent processor. Buffers have been set around critical sections of pipe in ArcGIS for this user. Should the excavator cross a buffer, a warning is sent to the user and supervisor. Most problematic is when the excavator stops. This indicates potentially it is about to start digging. Should this occur the ArcGIS GeoEvent processor sends an alert to all concerned parties. This then provides a mechanism to enable intervention before any potential problem arises. It could indeed prevent a disaster.
This is a simple yet very powerful mobile GIS application. It should prove a crucial tool to utilities. Helping with monitoring, in the ongoing quest to improve safety.