Two technologies used extensively by utilities to maintain their infrastructure assets include Geographic Information Systems (GIS) like Esri® ArcGIS and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems like IBM® Maximo, Oracle® WAM, and ABB® Ellipse. GIS is used to manage spatial location and associated descriptive attributes of assets, while EAM systems are used to handle asset condition and maintenance work throughout its lifecycle. It’s not unusual for both GIS and EAM systems to share common enterprise asset data, with each having a representation of the data in its local data store to support the application’s native functionality. The replication of data across GIS and EAM requires the data to be synchronized so that each system contains accurate and up-to-date information.
GeoWorx® Sync is commercial off the shelf (COTS) software that allows organizations to synchronize enterprise asset data between GIS and EAM regardless of the system of entry (SoE). The software connects to data sources in each system, extracts and compares the common data, and makes updates where appropriate to ensure the data aligns (illustrated in Figure 1). GeoWorx Sync can be configured with rules at the row and column level that govern synchronization, ensuring data integrity is maintained according to the organizations policies. In this post I will describe three use cases that demonstrate how GeoWorx Sync handles varying SoE.
Use Case #1: Asset is Created in GIS
This is by far the most common use case for utilities that manage linear and distributed assets like water, sewer, electric, and gas networks. For example, in the case of a new subdivision, typically, the utility will create an initial design for construction of necessary infrastructure. During construction, the initial drawings are revised and culminate in a set of “as built” drawings. These drawings are then used to create new features in GIS representing the new infrastructure assets. Once the data is entered into GIS and confirmed using validation rules, the data is ready to be sent to the organizations EAM. When GeoWorx Sync is run, it discovers the new features in GIS and automatically creates new asset and location records in the EAM. Specifications in the EAM will be created from the attribute values entered into the GIS. Figure 2 below shows the flow of data for this use case.
Use Case #2: Asset is Created in EAM
Based on an organizations business processes there may be some cases where asset data is first created in the EAM. For example, when a utility purchases pallets of transformers they are recorded in EAM upon delivery, stored in a warehouse, and then later issued to work orders for placement on a pole during construction. In this case, the asset was created in the EAM and given an Asset ID which makes the record available to the work order for installation. GeoWorx Sync can then be used to create the feature in GIS based on an existing asset or location in the EAM. If the spatial coordinates are in the EAM, such as GPS values for points, the software will create the geometry in GIS and populate the attributes from the EAM. If the spatial information is not kept in the EAM, then GeoWorx Sync will create GIS features with null shapes, but still populate the attributes. The GIS editor would be responsible for digitizing the geometry for these features. Figure 3 below shows the flow of data for this use case.
Use Case #3: Asset is Created in Both GIS and EAM and Must Be Linked
Another use case is when some data is entered into GIS and other data, for the same asset, is entered into the EAM using a separate process. In other words, a record is created for the first time in each system independently. GeoWorx Sync has the ability to discover and link these records together using a specific attribute value or a combination of attributes to create a connection between the two records. Once the link is established, GeoWorx Sync will populate the primary and foreign keys which are used to keep the records in sync going forward. Figure 4 below shows the flow of data for this use case.
GeoWorx Sync provides the flexibility to determine the data maintenance process that works best for your organization. In some cases, there may be multiple systems where asset data is initially created depending on the asset type and which department has authority. Your integration should not dictate how data is maintained and in which system. Instead a responsible and fail-safe approach to data synchronization should adapt to your existing SoE and other data maintenance workflows.
For more information, please check out our website at www.geo-nexus.com.