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GIS as an imperative for a smart Grid

Geographic Information System (GIS) serves two critical purposes beyond what an enterprise asset management (EAM) tool can provide. These two are: spatial location and network connectivity. Whereas EAM owns the physical characteristics of an asset, the needs of a Smart Grid can only be met when GIS and EAM sync together.

From an automation perspective, EMS, DMS, OMS or Substation SCADA can subscribe to the network connectivity built within a GIS. A single spatial data model could form the backbone for managing the operations of the entire grid. GIS typically would be the repository of the "as-built". Real time changes brought about by day-to-day operations shall remain within the smart systems meant for automation until they become permanent changes or as-built.

Implementing this backbone of information flow goes beyond the T&D operations into Customer Service (CS) and Power Procurement (PP). A customer service representative who receives a call from a customer on an individual outage can in real-time view the network issue that caused the outage on a map. Also hovering over the issue on the map the representative can view EAM data describing the work-order with status and expected time of completion.

PP can leverage the combination of GIS and EMS to find the capacity margins of each Transmission circuit for monthly, daily or hourly power scheduling. GIS will have the as-built capacity information for each transmission line and EMS would supplement this with the current load and available margins.

GIS can tie all protection devices - transducers, measuring devices, control circuitry and relays to their geographic location in a substation. Critical equipment drawings and inspection videos could be stored or hyperlinked against the asset representation on a map.

This list can go on, but the message that I'd like to convey is that GIS-EAM together become a complete repository of asset information and have a foundational role to play in building the smart grid information infrastructure.

The following picture was part of a paper-presentation we did at DistribuTECH conference in 2009. It visually depicts the value-impact of GIS across the utility value chain:



Thanks for the valuable information.Among the GIS and EAM systems, which of them should be the owner of ideally?

My view is that the ownership has to be shared between these two systems. Attributes define their ownership to either EAM or GIS. For example: The locational information which can be saved as "x,y,z" coordinates in EAM still need to be owned by a GIS whereas functional location, work-order history and physical characteristics should be owned by an EAM.
Also irrespective of which one is the primary-owner of that particular data, each system could be the user-interface for accessing all asset information.
Another example could be ‘network connectivity’ which a user can trace and view graphically, should be owned by a GIS; EAM could source this data from a GIS and host in a hierarchical tabular fashion.

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