The energy and utility sector is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors of any country. Added to this, utility management is perhaps one of the most basic needs of today’s infrastructure management. Most governments and companies are always looking at how investment can be made on different utility supply lines, such as water, power lines, telephone lines, gas mains, and even sewage lines.
It is necessary that each component of a utility should remain functional and not suffer from a breakdown. Because once it does, it becomes very difficult to manage such an infrastructure manually. This is where having access to geographic data helps provide the correct spatial dimensions to the infrastructure’s management.
At the same time, the energy and utility industry worldwide is going through unprecedented change. The privatization of government-owned utilities, increasing competition between wholesale and retail consumers, and rapid mergers and acquisitions are all factors that have added various new elements of risk to the field of utility management today.
This is why energy and water utilities today are no longer able to solely rely on the regulatory protection of their customers and territory. If utilities are not affected by direct deregulation, then they are increasingly facing customers who are more and more aware of the pricing and service options.
This is why utilities today require new tools and strategies to remain competitive.
One of the emerging areas of focus that has emerged for the energy and utility industry is that of spatial data. Better use of spatial data including improved hardware and software, networking technologies, and geographic knowledge are creating more opportunities for the energy and utility industry to create and build a more sophisticated and comprehensive GIS.
Let’s take a look at how GI is helping in shaping the new and more competitive energy and utility industry. But first, let’s get to know in detail what is GIS?
What is GIS?
GIS stands for Geographic Information System. GIS is a framework or infrastructure in place for gathering, managing, and analyzing all types of data. Based on the foundation of geography, GIS helps integrate and bring together several types of data.
The framework analyzes the spatial location and then organizes layers of related information into visualizations that make use of 3D scenes and maps. With such unique offerings, GIS is capable of providing deeper insights into data such as relationships, specific situations, and patterns, thus helping users of the GIS system make better informed and smarter decisions.
Application of GIS in the Energy and Utility Sector:
The GIS framework, along with a well-functioning IT (Information Technology) setup, can help the energy and utility sector make use of software, hardware, and other data for identifying and visualizing the market trends, industry partners, new opportunities, and the threats facing the sector.
This otherwise would not be possible by using the simple data available on paper and in tabular form. GIS can make great value addition to the energy and utility sector by making their functioning more streamlined and better.
Some of the challenges that GIS can help address for this industry include:
Poor infrastructure and lack of connectivity to natural sources of fuel, asset management and distribution network: One of the key challenges facing many energy and utility industries around the world is the problem of poor infrastructure and lack of proper connectivity to sources of fuel, asset management, and a proper distribution network.
GIS solutions can help improve the quality and performance of the energy infrastructure and bring it at par with global levels. The geographic and business data can be used for developing GIS-enabled solutions that can help all types of infrastructure-level queries and issues. The data of infrastructure components can be digitized and then utilized for real-time monitoring of assets.
The solutions can also be tailored for the benefit of policymakers, distribution companies, and power plant stakeholders.
Some of the GIS-enabled solutions in this field may include:
- Workforce and resources planning system for better asset management
- GIS-enabled Enterprise asset management
- A predictive analysis system of demand and supply of fuel sources
- Disaster Management and Recovery Systems
- Real-time Decision Support Systems for Power Plants and Distribution
Storm vulnerability assessment: GIS system helps utilities assess the impact that major storms would have on the electrical grid and the entire distribution network. This will help utilities predetermine where to reinforce the network in order to minimize the impact from the storm.
Reduce technical losses in transmission, distribution and consumer level consumption: This will help prevent any inappropriate demand-supply issues. Wherever the energy and utility industry is still evolving, these countries need to focus on the lack of appropriate technologies and also transparency at the operations levels.
GIS-enabled solutions increase the ability of all stakeholders to build infrastructure, distribution networks, facilities, and also improve the overall quality standards in the sector.
The GIS-solutions that can be used for this purpose include:
- Fleet management for fuel transportation
- GIS-enabled asset analytics
- Facilities management including fault detection and real-time analytics
- GIS-enabled supplier/vendor integration solution
How GISKernel can help the energy and utility industry:
GISKernel aims to help you come to the forefront of the industry by using advanced technology with their thorough understanding of the spatial domain. With us as your technology partners, we promise to give you software support and high consulting capabilities at our best.
What services does GISKernel provide?
Telecommunications: Being aware of where the facilities and customers exist is an essential part of managing any utility and distribution grid. GIS databases have the potential to manage such an infrastructure.
Wastewater and water utilities: GIS systems allows a utility to integrate the data from various sources and create a manageable database.
Electricity Mapping: GIS systems along with other technologies can help you create an electricity mapping project that can be implement country-wide, state-wide or even area-wise.
It is a time for a major change for the energy and utility industry. Deregulation, privatization, and the advancements in technologies are all having a major impact on this industry.
Today, GIS is being used by many electrical, water, and gas utilities worldwide to focus on facilities management, automated mapping, and for creating other types of geographical information systems.
GISKernel will help you with map editing, creating map products, design and work order processing, network modeling, and executive information systems to help take your industry to the heights of success.