October 16, 2008 -- Winnipeg, Manitoba – ESRI Canada recognized Manitoba Hydro with an Award of Excellence at the Regional User Conference in Winnipeg earlier today. Tim Walker, Prairies Regional Manager for ESRI Canada, presented the award to acknowledge the development of two unique mobile GIS applications, TTMobile and VegMan Survey, that have dramatically improved operational efficiency.
“Manitoba Hydro continues to pursue new and innovative uses of GIS,” explains Tim Walker. “Despite limited resources, they developed two sophisticated applications within six months and completely evolved the process of managing vegetation along distribution lines.”
Manitoba Hydro is the province’s major energy utility, and its Forestry section is responsible for coordinating vegetation management efforts on distribution Rights of Way (ROW). One of the biggest challenges they faced was relaying information from the field back to the office in a timely manner so that appropriate action could be taken when vegetation was posing a threat to power lines. Data accuracy was also an issue as Line Patrollers would rely on a paper map and highlighter to mark up areas requiring work, which often made interpretation difficult. Manitoba Hydro is constantly striving to improve customer service and reliability by preventing power outages, thus there was an urgent need for a new and improved process of data transfer and management.
Using the Mobile Application Development Framework (ArcGIS Server), Manitoba Hydro developed TTMobile, a hand-held application that captures and spatially references work completed by contractors to trim trees along distribution line ROWs. The data is synchronized back to the office and analyzed by Foresters using ArcGIS Desktop and then shared with other users via a web mapping application. Previously, no spatial reference of completed tree trimming work existed, and the process was difficult to manage. The data that is recorded and accessed through TTMobile, (such as tree species, number of trees removed and hours spent conducting the work) can now be easily accessed, which enables Manitoba Hydro to better manage the performance of contractors and plan future tree trimming.
VegMan Survey is a user-friendly touch-screen laptop application that allows Line Patrollers to capture their vegetation management surveys in real time and indicate the type of work required to address vegetation concerns on the ROW. This serves as a powerful preventative measure, as Line Patrollers are now able to identify potential problems before they arise, such as danger trees. In addition, the application is tied directly to the Customer Information Database (CID), so that field crews can contact property owners immediately and acquire permissions to conduct their work. Explains James Matthewson, Forester for Manitoba Hydro:
“VegMan Survey puts the control in the hands of Line Patrollers who can now research customer information and contact property owners without leaving their trucks. In addition, the real-time capture of surveys provides us with much more accurate data. This has greatly improved our efficiency because the better we can map areas in need of treatment, the better we can manage vegetation.”
For more information on Manitoba Hydro, please visit: www.hydro.mb.ca
About ESRI Canada
Established in 1984, ESRI Canada is a Canadian owned company specializing in geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. ESRI Canada distributes the world's leading GIS software including solutions from ESRI Inc., Miner and Miner, I.S.M. International Systemap Corp. and Azteca. In order to provide organizations with complete industry-specific solutions ESRI Canada has established an extensive business partner program that includes more than 130 Canadian organizations. ESRI Canada also provides professional services including consulting, training, technical support, and enterprise GIS implementation. ESRI Canada is a leader in providing world-class enterprise GIS solutions for many industries including public works, land management, utilities, defence, public safety, business demographics, education, natural resources and transportation. ESRI Canada has fifteen regional offices across the country, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit http://www.esricanada.com/ or call 1-800-447-9778.
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