Supporting DIMP with ArcGIS: Part Two of Two

Workers fixing gas pipe

Utilities looking to further enrich their gas utility DIMP (Distribution Integrity Management Program) should consider Esri’s ArcGIS Insights. The intuitive software compiles data from various sources and layers, allowing utilities to perform advanced data analytics and gain a deeper understanding of their gas leak data via enhanced visualization and exploration tools.

ArcGIS Insights can be used together with UDC’s DIMP Analysis solution to provide a comprehensive view of a utility’s gas leak data and further support DIMP managers in their yearly gas maintenance planning. The final part of our DIMP blog series highlights data exploration tools within ArcGIS Insights, including heat maps, grid maps, and colored pipe maps, that can be leveraged by the utility for enhanced gas leak analyses.

Cluster counts layer in UDC's DIMP Analysis solution
Figure 1 A layer displaying cluster counts in UDC’s DIMP Analysis solution.
Leak causes layer in UDC's DIMP Analysis solution
Figure 2 Leak causes are pinpointed in UDC’s DIMP Analysis solution.

Visualize with Heat Maps

When there is a high density of data points on a map, such as with gas leaks, it can be challenging for DIMP managers to visually identify trends or problem areas in their gas leak data. 

Roger Carribine
Software Engineer, UDC

Using the heat map tool in ArcGIS Insights, DIMP managers can better visualize the severity and locations of gas leaks as well as leak progressions from year to year. This is because heat maps use color to represent the density of data points on a map rather than individual points: cooler colors indicate lower densities while brighter colors indicate higher densities. 

Identify Leak Hot Spots

Heat maps can signal hot spots, or areas with a high concentration of leaks, such as the city of Bridgeport in Figure 3. A contained area of high-density leaks, like Bridgeport, may prompt managers to investigate whether the area possibly has aging infrastructure or if another issue is the cause. In this case, the high concentration of below ground leaks could be due to the city’s coastal geography since the pipes could be at a higher risk of corrosion than the surrounding inland areas.

Map showing hot spots of DIIMP leak data
Figure 3 Heat map of DIMP leak data with the leak causation filter on.

Summarize Leaks by Grid

Applying the grid map tool, managers can define their utility’s service territory using a grid overlay and color code those areas according to the most common leak cause reported for that area, as shown below. 

Colorful grid blocks layer showing leak cause
Figure 4 The overlayed grid feature shows the most common leak cause by area.
Roger Carribine
Software Engineer, UDC

Using this view, managers can more easily identify correlations between leak cause and service area, helping them plan for and target leak repairs in district improvement projects. For instance, areas dominated by third party damage could correlate to a higher occurrence of exposed pipes in those areas or higher traffic. Knowing this can help managers budget for damaged equipment in those areas more accurately in their yearly DIMP planning.

Pinpoint Leaks by Pipe

To analyze leaks at a more granular level, DIMP managers may be interested in color coding their utility pipes by leak type and severity of leak. The figure below represents pipes with corrosion-causing leaks. The purple pipes symbolize pipes with extensive corrosion, while the orange pipes show pipes with a moderate amount of corrosion. The grey pipes have no detected corrosion. 

Pipes colored in purple and orange showing corrosion severity
Figure 5 The severity of pipes with corrosion-causing leaks are differentiated by color.
Roger Carribine
Software Engineer, UDC

This tool can aid managers in identifying specific pipes or sections of pipe with leak issues, thus helping them to proactively maintain their gas systems with targeted repairs. For example, if there are several leaks caused by corrosion on the same pipe, then it is likely the pipe needs repairing or replacing. 

Explore Your Gas Data

Esri’s ArcGIS Insights provides DIMP managers with more visualization into their gas leak data to perform advanced analytics. Applying the data exploration tools, such as heat maps, map grids, and colored pipe maps, utilities can plan for gas improvements more effectively and further enhance their DIMP.

To learn more about ArcGIS Insights, see our article – Visualize Your Data. Read about our DIMP Analysis solution or contact us to find out how we can help optimize your DIMP processes. Download our eBook to discover how each of the 7 compliance elements outlined in PHMSA can be satisfied within an effected DIMP plan.

Roger Carribine headshot

10 years at UDC / 29 years in GIS

Roger Carribine

Software Engineer for UDC, Roger is a solution focused technical consultant and senior developer with extensive experience in geospatial technologies and GIS, primarily supporting electric and gas utilities in the areas of GIS and AMI technologies. As a member of UDC's Agile team, he aided in developing UDC's Digital Utility Compliance Manager application and Esri Web AppBuilder Spatial BI tools.

Richard Oxales headshot

9 years at UDC / 9 years in GIS

Richard Oxales

As a Software Developer for UDC, Richard enhances and deploys software for our utility clients, making workflows expandable, customizable, and more efficient. He also supports client workflows through building web applications.