Project Highlights:

  • AVANGRID, Inc.

  • Headquartered in Orange, CT
  • 8 Electric and Natural Gas Utilities in Network
  • 3.25 million Customers / 24 States
  • Southern Connecticut Gas

  • 2,500 mi natural gas distribution pipelines
  • 197,000 customers in 22 CT communities
  • Berkshire Gas Company

  • 764 mi natural gas distribution pipelines
  • 40,000 customers in western MA

With the first batches of data entering production, Avangrid Network Companies, Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) and Berkshire Gas Company (BGC), are in the final leg of converting their gas data from CAD to their newly deployed GIS. The new GIS infrastructure is helping Avangrid align SCG and BGC with its other gas companies under one GIS technology, while also laying a foundation for a Gas Utility Network implementation.

Standardizing AVANGRID’s Network Companies

Operating in twenty-four states, Avangrid’s service territory is managed by eight subsidiaries. Through the Gas GIS Implementation project, Avangrid aimed to better align SCG and BCG with its other subsidiaries, by transitioning the companies from a CAD mapping system to a comprehensive GIS infrastructure. By defining a common GIS Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) now, Avangrid hopes to standardize all network companies in the future.

Through a two-track initiative, one focused on data conversion tasks and the other on application development, SCG and BCG leveraged their existing infrastructure investment as well as investments in Esri and Schneider Electric software to create a complete distribution-level GIS with spatial locations for utility gas assets. While building the GIS, UDC concurrently digitized and converted the gas data, mapped the legacy data sources to the Utility Network, and developed integrations in addition to web and mobile applications – enabling Avangrid to continue with business operations throughout the project and after.

The new GIS infrastructure will improve support for gas operations, emergency planning and outage management, DIMP compliance, cast iron/bare steel replacements, new business expansion, and GIS integration.

Automating Processes for Optimization

Over the course of the project, UDC developed automation solutions to replace Avangrid’s manual processes as well as extended Esri OOTB functionalities for the utility. Implementing these changes has streamlined Avangrid’s workflows, resulting in improved efficiencies and user experience, and supported the utility’s compliance management processes.

GIS Extract to Synergi

To help Avangrid automatically transform its GIS data into a Synergi compatible format, UDC developed an extraction tool that promotes the data into the Synergi model using the network trace information from the Utility Network. Applying the tool, the data can be exported quickly, saving Avangrid considerable time manually converting and importing the data into the Synergi model.

CAD Sync to GIS

Prior to deploying a comprehensive GIS, work orders were designed in AutoCAD or MicroStation. UDC built a synchronization tool to extract the CAD data and import it back into the GIS. This functionality allows designers to model on the existing land base using the same features in the GIS, saving designers a substantial amount of time designing from a blank map in the new system.

GIS Traces

UDC enabled the Utility Network’s OOTB GIS Trace tools to accelerate Avangrid’s outage workflow and aid the utility in managing outage assignments. Previously, outage assignments were manually managed using a spreadsheet. Employing the trace tools, Avangrid can now automatically run a trace, generate a list of meters (customers), and use an existing process to import the list into the SAP environment. This capability allows the utility to better manage and report outages to regulatory compliance agencies as well as improves emergency planning.

Leak Survey

Leveraging Esri’s OOTB Field Maps, UDC created a Leak Survey breadcrumbs solution that enables field workers to track their routes in the mobile application as they ‘walk the line.’ This solution provides Avangrid a digital and accurate method for monitoring leak inspections and supporting DIMP compliance standards.

Transitioning from CAD to GIS

Where possible, UDC worked to mimic existing processes to help transition SCG and BCG Avangrid companies to the new GIS technology. The legacy application, Lifecyle Oracle, tracked changes to the utility’s strip maps (utility asset dimensioning maps), archiving the old maps as snapshots. UDC duplicated this process in the GIS, providing access to the maps using work polygons and locations. Activating this process has helped support tracking and traceability as well as provides historical functionality for Avangrid, helping the utility remain compliant.

With several tasks in each track of the project, UDC performed technical knowledge transfers and created in-depth user manuals to aid Avangrid in independently maintaining its systems moving forward. Jointly with Avangrid, UDC developed an effective change management plan for the utility, outlining the gradual transition from the current CAD process to a fully functional GIS organization.

UDC will continue to support SCG and BCG as they transition from a CAD environment to a fully functional GIS.

Data Conversion and GIS Components:

The solution elements for the Gas GIS Implementation project include:

  • Converting from paper and digitized sources
  • Mapping all legacy data sources to Utility Network
  • Providing workflow process, methodology, and automation to maintain the designed network synchronized between CAD and GIS
  • Developing applications to support regulatory requirements for Outage Management Support, Leak Survey, and Leak Trend reports
  • Designing UPDM and implementing ArcGIS Pro and ArcFM
  • Developing web-based and mobile-enabled GIS web-based viewing tools
  • Digitizing gas assets to develop a multi-tiered traceable gas network model consisting of pressure and potential isolation tiers, as well as a corrosion protection tier
  • Integrating GIS with Synergi data model
  • Implementing analytical reporting tools for decision support data

This conversion serves to help standardize all eight Avangrid network companies under one GIS technology over time, preparing the way for Avangrid’s long-term goal of Utility Network migration.