District Heating and Cooling Data Model – May Update

05-21-2020 08:07 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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By Tom DeWitte

In January 2020, Esri launched an initiative to create a Utility Network data model that would enable District Heating and Cooling industry (DHC) customers to more fully leverage the ArcGIS platform. From the beginning, this was undertaken as a collaborative effort involving Distributors, Business Partners, and customers. To assure the initiative factored in regional requirements, working groups for North America, Europe and Asia were formed.  These working groups are comprised of volunteers from DHC organizations, and the business partners and Esri Distributors who support them. These working groups started meeting virtually twice a month in March.  This blog is an update on the progress made by these working groups in our efforts to create a geodatabase data model for Steam, Heated Water, and Chilled Water pipe systems with the Utility Network capabilities, by the end of 2020.

Its Taking Shape

In February of 2020, a team of Esri staff started meeting with DHC organizations to begin the process of understanding these pipe systems and the assets which comprise them. Thru March and April the aggregated feedback from these organizations has started to coalesce.  With this coalescing of feedback, a geodatabase data model with utility network capability is starting to take shape.

As the feature class subtypes, attributes, coded domains, and default values settle into a final schema, other aspects of a geodatabase data model are starting to be defined.  These are the business rules of District Heating and Cooling.  In the just released Alpha 3 version of the data model, you will see some initial defining of Contingent values.  Over the course of the summer, this will be expanded to include attribute rule calculations and attribute rule constraints.

Alpha3 will also be the first iteration of the data model to start to include the Utility Network specific definitions and rulebase. With Alpha 3 you will see the first iteration of definitions for the pipe system tier group, and its tiers of system and pressure. Alpha 3 will also include beginning rulebase definitions for containment and connectivity.  These too will be enhanced thru additional iterations over the course of the summer.

We Have Sample Data

We have data!! 

A sample data set is an important part of the data model template download.  It allows everyone to see through a map what part the data model assets play in the pipe system and where in the pipe system these assets appear.

With the alpha 3 posting of the DHC 2020 data model, we will be including for the first time our developing sample data set.  This data set will include examples of steam, heated water, and chilled water pipe systems.  You can download the DHC 2020 Alpha 3 version here.

Much Yet To Do

Building a spatially aware data model requires a little more work than defining a standard relational database data model.  Over the next several months, the working groups will continue to build out this data model.  This work will center around how the inventory of DHC pipe system assets interact with each other.  With upcoming releases of the data model over the summer of 2020 you will see the result of this effort in the defining of:

                - Connectivity rules to define how this pipe system should be assembled

                - Containment rules to define within which facilities these assets are allowed to reside

                - Contingent values to define the dependency between an asset’s attributes

                - Attribute rules to automate data entry and improve data quality

                - Subnetwork definitions to define the subsystems of the pipe system    

There is much yet to do.


Even though there is much yet to do, this effort is on schedule.  But we are always looking for more volunteers with industry knowledge to help with this effort.  If you work in, or support the Steam, Heated Water, or Chilled Water utility organizations and are interested in joining one of our working groups, please let us know.  You can contact me via geonet or directly via email: tdewitte@esri.com.

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About the Author
Technical Lead for Natural Gas Industry at Esri