HOLDERNESS, NH, 16 April 2007 — Integrated Mapping Services Inc. (InMaps) has implemented its GIS-based Automated Driving Survey (ADS) application at Yankee Gas Services Co. in Berlin, Connecticut. The InMaps ADS application automates record-keeping related to the mobile gas detection surveys that natural gas utilities must perform annually in compliance with federal and state regulations.
The largest natural gas distribution company in Connecticut, Yankee Gas serves nearly 200,000 customers in 72 cities and towns. Each year, federal and state guidelines require the utility to inspect its entire 3,000-mile network of underground distribution pipes for potentially dangerous gas leaks. As is now common with most U.S. gas utilities, Yankee Gas conducts the inspections using vehicles equipped with flame ionization hydrocarbon detection devices.
“The record-keeping is a huge administrative undertaking,” said Kevin Dupre, Director of Gas Operations for Yankee Gas. “Prior to implementing ADS, we had to maintain daily To-From’ sheets showing precisely which street segments had been surveyed, and then we transferred survey details to 400-scale maps to track the progress and pinpoint locations of leaks. This information had to be updated constantly as an auditable record for state regulators.”
InMaps, a GIS consulting services firm specializing in electric and gas utility applications, developed ADS to facilitate the reporting aspects of the government-mandated driving surveys. 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.
“We developed ADS to streamline the survey reporting process and ensure that leak detection and status records are always up to date,” said Richard St.Pierre, InMaps President and CEO. “Our goal was to cut the staff time required by gas utilities to satisfy the government regulations.”
The InMaps ADS application runs inside the GIS which allows the user access to leak location data with leak status information existing on the GIS. This enables operations managers to click on the GIS-based distribution network map and access status on open leaks and repaired leaks on a segment of pipeline. ADS 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.
“We are pleased with the performance of ADS because it helps to minimize staff time spent on paperwork, which previously accounted for about 25 percent of the time required for leak detection survey compliance,” said Dupre. “And having ADS operate inside our GIS gives us a better understanding of our infrastructure and operational performance.”
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.
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