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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Geospatial Corporation Integrates Blockchain Technology with GeoUnderground

February 1st, 2018 by Susan Smith

Troy Taggart, president of Geospatial Corporation, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the company’s integration with the popular Blockchain technology, the software behind Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency, with their cloud-based GIS platform, GeoUnderground. GeoUnderground provides energy companies a secure way to manage contracts, assure provenance and track asset maintenance.

Geospatial Corporation utilizes integrated technologies to determine the accurate location and position of underground pipelines, conduits and other underground infrastructure data allowing Geospatial to create accurate three-dimensional (3D) digital maps and models of underground infrastructure.

GeoUnderground, designed around the Google Maps API, is Geospatial’s cloud-based GIS platform that when integrated with Blockchain technology will provide clients with a total solution to their underground and above-ground asset management and location needs.

Mark Smith, Geospatial’s CEO stated in company materials, “Integrating Blockchain technology with GeoUnderground will allow us to provide a seamless sharing of constantly updated locational data and status of each asset and each contract along with the verification and history of each piece of equipment, pipeline and property status, via the cloud. The integration of Blockchain and GeoUnderground has the potential to drive profound, positive change to the global oil and gas industry.”

GISCafe Voice: What characterizes Blockchain technology?

Troy Taggart: Blockchain is a distributed transaction-ledger database “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.

GISCafe Voice: What are current methods of managing contracts, provenance, and tracking asset maintenance for oil and gas?

There are numerous methods and programs around asset management and contract management in Oil and Gas. There are also a lot of discrepencies in royalty payments and missing data sets of pipeline information, especially in older pipeline networks because they have been around for so long and many have been bought and sold multiple times. A pipeline network is basically a toll road. From simple sharepoint to other specific software products sold to assist managing assets for oil and gas, however there is often multiple departments using different methods and lots of siloed information sets that don’t interact or work together, with a lot of manual interaction and human error because there are so many changes. From static data like pipe material, joint fitting information to real time dynamic information like sensor data…there is an immense amount of important data for billing, investor and partner payouts, integrity management, which makes blockchain technology ideal as it will seamlessly update constantly and act as a single source of truth across multiple boundaries. Blockchain will provide an ongoing record of all historical and future transactions of data. By encoding business rules, blockchain helps eliminate the need for human interaction to validate and reconcile the data.

GISCafe Voice: Does GeoUnderground integrate with other solutions such as asset maintenance or ProjectWise from Bentley Systems, solutions from Autodesk or Esri, for example?

We work well with other systems and can integrate if that is the customer’s goal. Currently GeoUnderground works extremely well with Shapefiles, CAD files, and KML/KMZ.

GISCafe Voice: Can you describe a common workflow with the new Blockchain technology?

In our business we map pipelines. There is a ton of information on that pipeline we map. Oil and gas companies are required to know every joint and fitting, where it was made, who delivered it and who and how it was installed, and so on. There are thousands of contractors building, surveying, inspecting. Ideally a new pipeline such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be ideal to use blockchain to create an environement as it is installed so the future of that data and all its transactions are properly maintained forever.

GISCafe Voice: What does Blockchain technology bring to the table?

Reduction of human error while being able to share data with multiple parties securely at scale. “Smart Contracts” will be the result of blockchain deployment.

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Categories: 3D designs, analytics, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Bitcoin, Blockchain technology, climate change, cloud, data, election maps, emergency response, geospatial, GIS, Google, government, lidar, location intelligence, mapping, sensors

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