HOLDERNESS, NH, 1 October 2007 — UGI Penn Natural Gas (UGI-PNG), the largest natural gas distribution company in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, has automated the record-keeping related to gas detection surveys by implementing the GIS-based Automated Driving Survey (ADS) application from InMaps.
“The InMaps Automated Driving Survey has virtually eliminated the paper documentation required for mobile gas survey compliance,” said Tony DeCesaris, Manager of Leak Detection & Technical Services at UGI-PNG in Wilkes-Barre, PA. “We estimate the ADS application has reduced staff time spent on paperwork by 1.5 hours per day, or 30 hours per month.”
UGI-PNG, which serves 158,000 natural gas customers in Pennsylvania, maintains 2,500 linear miles of gas distribution pipelines spread over 13 counties covering 750 square miles. State and federal regulations require UGI-PNG – and all other natural gas distribution utilities – to perform a mobile inspection of its entire gas pipeline network every year to detect leaks. UGI-PNG has equipped six vehicles with flame ionization hydrocarbon devices to drive the service territory and locate underground gas leaks.
InMaps, a GIS consulting services firm specializing in electric and gas utility applications, developed ADS to facilitate the reporting aspects of government-mandated driving surveys. The InMaps ADS interfaces with an onboard GPS receiver and runs on a GIS-equipped laptop in the vehicle to automatically track the streets that have been surveyed. When a leak is discovered the vehicle operator can map its precise location in ADS with a single key stroke on the mobile computer.
“InMaps has developed GIS applications for numerous gas utilities, and we have heard repeated complaints about the paperwork involved in leak detection compliance,” said Richard St.Pierre, InMaps President and CEO. “We created the ADS Survey application to run inside the utility’s GIS so that leak location and status data could be instantly accessed.”
InMaps ADS enables utility operations managers to click on the GIS-based distribution network map and access the status details of open and repaired leaks on a segment of pipeline. The ADS applications then outputs survey summaries in a variety of graphical and tabular formats for hardcopy or digital presentation to utility regulators. InMaps designed ADS to run on the GE Smallworld platform, but it will soon integrate with other popular GIS packages.
“Reporting consistency is another huge advantage to using ADS,” said UGI-PNG’s DeCesaris. “We have six different leak survey crews, and each one had its own style of documenting survey results, which sometimes confused the regulators. Now all the paperwork is digital and standardized in ADS, making our reports easier to review.”
InMaps provides geospatial consulting services for natural gas and electric utilities, with special emphasis in Smallworld systems. Consulting services include application development, technology upgrades, PowerOn® support, system integration, compliance reporting, training, and on-site services. Products include GPS Locator and Dimension Toolkit. Field solutions include Automated Driving Survey, for the natural gas industry, and Mobile GIS, which gets Smallworld into the field. InMaps is a GE Energy Value Added Reseller. Contact Richard St.Pierre at InMaps: 603-968-3670 x301 or