Keeping track of asset information is no easy task, especially when keeping that information up to date is necessary for environmental safety and the safety of the public. Gas utilities are discovering new ways to manage important gas asset information and, by extension, are increasing the safety of their operations. These asset management projects, commonly known as Tracking and Traceability projects, have become a priority for Utilities across the globe.
But what is Tracking and Traceability? What is technology’s role in these projects? How can integration help promote more accurate data and speed up operations? Keep reading to find out.
Tracking and traceability projects at Utilities are projects focused on the creation of updated processes to manage the lifecycle of assets and equipment. The objective of these projects is to build a system for maintaining accurate records to track the location, status, and history of these assets and equipment as they age.
Many of the Tracking and Traceability projects being implemented currently at Utilites involve a strong focus on leveraging technology to improve the management of assets and equipment.
Esri’s new Tracking and Traceability (T&T) solution contains tools that are used to record locations for assets like pipes, fittings, and other gas-related underground assets. The solution can also save barcode (ASTM F2897 barcodes, to be specific) and GPS data for each asset, making it easier and faster to look up a specific asset’s information for utility employees working in the field or in the office. This method replaces the tried-and-true but very outdated method of collecting location data with a pen and paper that’s still in use by some organizations.
Tracking and Traceability also provides a straightforward way for utilities to comply with existing PHMSA safety regulations aimed at increasing the safety and reliability of plastic pipes. These regulations address the need for utilities to accurately track the details and locations of newly-deployed pipes and other gas assets. To comply with these regulations, it’s paramount that gas assets’ details and locations are stored accurately and securely.
Once an organization deploys Tracking and Traceability in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise, it can start taking advantage of T&T’s features and enable enhancements to workflows like asset tagging, inspection and maintenance tracking, leak detection, and more.
Use Case #1: Asset Tagging
Gas utilities typically use asset tags to track and identify the location of the assets and equipment they use and/or maintain. Asset tags are usually barcodes or RFID tags that are physically stuck to assets and allow them to be easily tracked and located. The use of these asset tags speeds up the work being done by employees in the field and GIS / IT specialists back at the office; they can quickly find all the necessary information about an asset by simply scanning the tags.
Use Case #2: Inspection and Maintenance Tracking
Gas utilities use sophisticated inspection and maintenance tracking systems (now including Tracking and Traceability) to monitor and maintain their assets. These systems enable utilities to schedule timely asset maintenance and inspections, identify potential issues before they cause further problems, and ensure that their assets are doing their job safely and correctly per PHMSA regulations.
Use Case #3: Leak Detection
Another key challenge for gas utilities is detecting and addressing leaks in their gas distribution and transmission networks. To address this problem, utilities use software like Tracking and Traceability in addition to hardware like sensors, infrared cameras, and even aerial surveys to spot leaks. These technologies enable utilities to detect leaks and address them as soon as possible, minimizing potential damage to the environment while promoting human and animal safety.
All of these features are helpful on their own, but they create a mountain of data that needs to be accurately collected and organized. That’s where Tracking and Traceability and the Geonexus Integration Platform come in. For many ArcGIS users, Tracking and Traceability will help make the storage and organization of gas asset data much more efficient. Plus, because Tracking and Traceability is compatible with the Geonexus Integration Platform, you can integrate Tracking and Traceability data with data from other CIS or EAM systems and strengthen data integrity across your organization.
One of our customers is already reaping the benefits of both Tracking and Traceability and the Geonexus Integration Platform. Peoples Natural Gas is synchronizing data from two GIS databases and has implemented the Geonexus Integration Platform to replace the collect-by-hand process they were previously using to keep track of newly deployed assets. All their gas assets are now deployed and recorded using a process that depends on asset tags.
Since implementing our platform, Peoples has seen a huge reduction in the amount of time it takes to deploy assets and is working with data it can trust. To learn more about Peoples, check out our case study featuring their GIS-GIS use case.
If your organization is looking to manage asset information with more efficiency, the new Tracking and Traceability features in ArcGIS are a great option. Thanks to Tracking and Traceability, gas utilities now have another way to leverage new technology, customize it to fit specific use cases, and use it to enhance data integrity with the help of the Geonexus Integration Platform.
At Geonexus our mission is to ensure integrity and reliability of enterprise data to support effective decision making. Our Integration Platform is an enterprise-grade integration solution that is easy to use, reliable, and includes out-of-the-box connectors for Esri® ArcGIS®, IBM® Maximo, SAP®, ABB® Ellipse, Oracle® Utilities, and other leading enterprise systems. Asset-intensive organizations across the globe use the Geonexus Integration Platform in industries including utilities, telecommunications, pipeline, transportation, and government.