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MEAG Telecommunications Implements Esri/CADTEL GIS Solution

MEAG Telecom views GIS technology as a tool that will enable improved network managementThe telecommunications unit of Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Telecom) has begun implementation of a GIS that will provide a host of applications for network management and will help the company as it develops and integrates a State-wide telecommunications network. Users will be able to use computer mapping and spatial analysis to perform engineering, construction, inventory, accounting, marketing, and operations and maintenance.

MEAG is a public power utility enacted by the State of Georgia to supply wholesale electric and related services to 47 municipalities and one county in Georgia. MEAG Telecom, a separate Business unit under MEAG, is comprised of 31 municipalities and one county and manages the telecommunications Business of its parent company.

"MEAG Telecom views GIS technology as a tool that will enable us to improve the management of our network and meet the needs of various groups throughout our company," says Mike Stanley of MEAG. "In addition, we wanted a tool that could be used by our municipal participants to service their GIS needs."

MEAG Telecom acquired ArcSDE on the Oracle platform, ArcIMS, and ArcView GIS software. The company also acquired CADTEL's LOGIC/gis and SpatialBASE engineering software, which serve as a telecommunications network design and engineering tool.

"By combining Esri's leading GIS technology tools with CADTEL's industry-specific software, users benefit from the resulting synergy," says Dave Lankford, president, CADTEL. "What is offered is a total solution, one that several leading telecommunications companies are using now to succeed."

Applications

GIS uses will include construction/integration of a State-wide telecommunications networkGIS will be used for a number of applications, the bulk of which will center on the construction and integration of a large, State-wide telecommunications network.

Engineers will use GIS to design new projects and to issue "for construction" prints to contractors and others.

For operations and maintenance, users will track construction projects. This allows workers to know exactly what type of fiber is installed, such as ADSS, OPGW, underground, or overhead, the number of fibers installed in each sheath, as well as the customer or customers leasing fiber.

MEAG Telecom will also use GIS to improve its ability to track the location of telecommunications network facilities, network connectivity, and perform capacity planning/bandwidth management functions.

GIS will also be used in day-to-day management of the fiber optic system. Using GIS with already existing CAD methods, GIS will extend current work efforts and help redefine how the company completes day-to-day job functions.

In addition, the 32 MEAG Telecom members can use the system. This provides participants who presently don't have a GIS system and/or don't have the resources to implement a GIS a low-cost way of tracking facilities.

"Overall, the GIS implementation at MEAG Telecom represents a melding of 32 different entities spanning the State of Georgia, working toward several common goals," says Don Carson, Esri. "These include improving their internal Business processes, improving external work coordination (network interconnection) between each entity, and improving customer service."

As Stanley explains, one of the greatest benefits of GIS is it gives MEAG Telecom a method for accurately keeping track of fiber optic facilities, which is a complex undertaking.

"You need to keep track of the geographic location of each fiber sheath, the number of fibers in each sheath, the type of electronics installed on each sheath, and the type of bandwidth you have provisioned on the electronics," says Stanley. "GIS allows our staff to manage all of these assets in a more efficient manner."

Implementation Schedule

Phase 1 of the implementation began in April 1999 and includes defining a State-wide land base source for the State of Georgia and recommending specific hardware and software. Phase 2 will include a pilot project as well as a document showing MEAG Telecom's AM/FM/GIS standards.

Phase 2 will define specific GIS land base and telecommunication facility standards. The pilot project should assist with reaching this goal.

Phase 3 will be the direct implementation of the standards developed in Phase 2 over a certain geographic area or areas. MEAG Telecom may choose to do Phase 3 or to outsource. Each participating organization will make this same decision about their facilities. A participant wishing to connect to the GIS, whether it's now or in the future, will follow the AM/FM/GIS standards developed in Phase 2. MEAG Telecom hopes to grow the system State-wide over time.

The system architecture will consist of SDE running on Oracle, which will be used to manage millions of spatial features, such as facility and road data, land parcel records, and customer locations, all at a higher speed than any other spatial technology on the market today. CADTEL's LOGIC/gis software and Esri's ArcView GIS software will act as SDE clients. For managing CAD data within the GIS environment, MEAG will use SDE CAD Client.

AutoCAD and GIS analysts will use CADTEL LOGIC/gis for the creation and management of outside plant networks. CADTEL's SpatialBASE is the client/server data service for its LOGIC product suite. The CADTEL/Esri integration provides an enterprisewide solution for companies requiring a feature-rich telecommunications GIS solution.

ArcView GIS will be used by engineering, construction, O&M, and marketing for viewing, analysis, and output of spatial data from the desktop.

ArcIMS will be used for spatially enabling MEAG Telecom's Intranet site. With a corporate Intranet with GIS capabilities, users throughout the corporation, from any location, can access spatial data and applications.

CADTEL seats will be used by the AutoCAD/GIS analysts and potentially the Network Operations Center (NOC).

"We chose Esri and CADTEL for several reasons," says Stanley. "Those include Esri's open software and hardware, the widespread use of Esri software throughout the State of Georgia, and the fact that Esri has been in Business for over 30 years. We felt that we would have a good support team for our project and that the company wouldn't be going away anytime soon."

For more information, contact Debra Underwood, director of marketing, MEAG (tel.: 770-563-1228, e-mail: dunderwood@meagpower.org).

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