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Enterprise GIS Solution to Integrate with SAP and Other Systems

Lincoln Electric Moves to an Open, Enterprise GIS World

Infolead Consulting used ArcFM, ArcFM Viewer, and ArcSDE to meet core operational needs.In today's highly volatile energy Business market, it's not enough to have a GIS for traditional automated mapping and geoengineering applications. Network connectivity, systems integration, Y2K, client/server--these technological issues are at the forefront of today's electric utilities. And they are also the issues of today's GIS. The ability to fully leverage the latest computing advances and standards within a corporate GIS is the difference between Business success and market failure.

Like so many other utilities across the country and around the globe, Lincoln Electric System understands this, and that is why the utility selected Esri's all-relational ArcFM and ArcFM Viewer software. Infolead Consulting, based out of Denver, Colorado, will provide consulting services to implement those products over the next year.

With its latest GIS acquisition, Lincoln Electric System will take advantage of an open, enterprise GIS solution that will expand and continue to evolve to meet the company's current and future needs.

"With open standards and enterprise environments, the ability to leverage GIS throughout a company is vital to successful utility companies," says Linda Hecht, director of marketing, Esri. "What is exciting about the utility industry today is that technology makes it easier than ever before to integrate GIS into core Business processes. This means that different people and departments with different needs can benefit from GIS."

Lincoln Electric System (LES) has, over the past eight years, built a complete and robust model of its electric facilities. "LES needed a GIS solution that could make that data accessible throughout the enterprise and we believe that ArcFM has the architecture and the functionality to make that possible," says Farid Nacer, principal partner, Infolead Consulting.

In addition to implementing GIS, Lincoln Electric is also deploying SAP's R/3 suite of Enterprise Resource Planning software. "The focus on the enterprise was one of the primary drivers behind the selection of ArcFM," says Mike Petersen, GIS project manager at LES. "Over the next few years we expect ArcFM to be fully integrated with R/3, CIS, Engineering Design, Trouble Outage, and other systems to provide users with a seamless view of all data related to our assets."

Lincoln Electric System

Lincoln Electric System corporate logoLincoln Electric System, a publicly owned electric utility located in Lincoln, Nebraska, serves approximately 106,000 customers within a 190-square-mile service territory. Service is provided from 45 substations via 1,250 miles of distribution lines, 665 miles of overhead service, and 585 miles of underground service. LES is made up of three principal sites: the Lincoln Electric Service Center, Lincoln Electric corporate headquarters, and Rokeby Operations Center.

In the late 1980s, LES implemented its Comprehensive Mapping and Engineering Data System (CMEDS). The original goals of the projects were to provide a range of GIS capabilities. However, the need to perform a full inventory of all assets in the field required LES to scale back its plans. Also, because the software chosen at that time did not use a relational database management system (RDBMS), LES was forced to maintain its facilities data in separate databases on a mainframe system. Despite those difficulties, CMEDS handled the map maintenance needs of the company and provided a platform for performing basic facilities management capabilities.

In 1998 LES began implementing a SAP R/3 solution to replace its Business systems. The intent of this implementation is to integrate many aspects of LES's internal operations. This experience combined with the need to acquire more powerful and more flexible spatial analysis tools led the company to seek a new GIS platform to support CMEDS. With guidance from Infolead Consulting, LES selected Esri's ArcFM, ArcFM Viewer, and ArcSDE software along with considerations underway to evaluate work design and trouble outage analysis packages in the coming years. LES also contracted with Infolead Consulting to migrate the existing GIS environment to the new platform. Infolead Consulting is currently working with Miner and Miner Consulting Engineers and Esri to deliver the required implementation and integration services including software installation, database design, application development, system administration, software maintenance and support, and training.

The Esri GIS solution meets core operational needs, including map maintenance, map production, connectivity maintenance, abnormal switch condition mapping, ad hoc query and display, and much more.

ArcFM, designed with Business partner Miner and Miner, provides LES will complete data management and editing capabilities for network and land base data. Users can edit, model, and manage data in a true client/server environment, which provides for future GIS expansion throughout LES. Along with additional operations applications, potential applications will be used in engineering, trouble analysis, marketing, and finance as well.

ArcFM Viewer will provide desktop GIS capabilities, including query and visualization, in an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).

GIS will be used to perform general data maintenance, allowing staff to add, delete, and modify facilities data, and to post data from work order as-built drawings.

Users can perform ad hoc queries and reporting functions to retrieve spatial and attribute data based on a variety of measures, including spatial and attribute. For example, users can query the database for all poles that are over 20 years old or they can select all transformers downstream from a specified switch, then instantly see a map of that information.

Users can also perform complex tasks, such as traces, through the utility's connectivity model. Users can specify the direction of the trace, whether it's upstream or downstream; facility conditions, such as whether a switch has a normal status of "open"; and the data collected along with trace, such as total transformer KVA.

Dispatchers can also track temporary status of switches by either identifying the switch graphically or by entering a unique identifier. GIS also tracks the name of the dispatcher, the data and time when the change is made, and notes entered by the dispatcher. Additional applications will include transformer load management, switching order generation, and work order definition.

Map data can be used for work order management, crew management, trouble analysis, trouble call taking, property and easement management, and more.

But the power of the GIS is more than just in the complex geospatial problems it solves. It's in its ability to allow everyone throughout the organization to use geospatial information to solve Business problems.

Future plans for expansion of GIS at LES include integrating GIS with other information systems including work management, customer information systems, SCADA, distribution planning model, and the company's ERP system. LES may also embed GIS capabilities into these and other more traditional Business applications.

"LES's system has followed a natural growth path," says Nacer. "First came mapping and facilities maintenance applications then came basic data distribution and analysis. With ArcFM, LES is moving the next stage that will make the power of the electric model available to all within the enterprise. Early next year, and timed to match new technologies forthcoming from Esri and Miner and Miner, will be the integration of the electric model with LES's other Business models. That integration will demonstrate the true value of GIS today."

For more information, contact Farid Nacer, Infolead Consulting (tel.: 303-765-0516, E-mail: fnacer@InfoleadConsulting.com).

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