ArcGIS Earth Assists in Monitoring 2,000-Mile Texas Pipeline

Operating out of western Texas, Kinetik provides a range of services to help bring natural gas, natural gas liquids, and crude oil to market—including constructing, maintaining, and repairing high-pressure steel pipelines. With more than 1,700 miles (2,735 kilometers) of pipe in the ground across five counties, Kinetik requires meticulous site planning to execute its operations.

A green and blue dashboard shows the location of a future pipeline, indicated by a white line.
Kinetik used ArcGIS Earth to model a proposed pipeline extension.

Until about two years ago, Kinetik’s project teams shared pipeline information using a system that lacked the detail and automation needed to properly access, manage, and collaborate around a single authoritative pipeline dataset in real time. To address this need, the company used ArcGIS Earth to create a streamlined method for engineers to upload, edit, synchronize, and share files containing pipeline information. Users can now sketch, annotate, and measure pipelines in ArcGIS Earth and share the results, making projects more collaborative and efficient.

Solving Version Control Issues

Kinetik project engineers and construction teams formerly relied on KMZ files to communicate and collaborate during pipeline projects. While this format is often used in pipeline design and construction, the sketches and file information are static, requiring manual updates to ensure consistency. This created the potential for information to become outdated. Kinetik needed a workflow that ensured that new or modified sketches, done by individual on-site teams, were unified into a single, authoritative dataset.

After coming to the company in 2021, Kinetik GIS manager Papillon Romero recognized that a large amount of time was being spent importing KMZ files, sorting through all the variations, and combining them into an updated dataset. Once the data had been consolidated, it then had to be exported via a new KMZ file to share with the project teams and others who needed the information.

“We were receiving a lot of direct requests for KMZs within the company, and those files are static as soon as we hand them out,” Romero explained. “That means that there’s no update to that file—it’s not connected to our data model. The risk with the KMZs is that somebody can have an old version with incorrect information and act on it.”

The time-consuming process of checking and updating information, compounded over many projects, would have left little time for Romero to review, update, and manage the company’s datasets. Kinetik needed a new way to share reliable information across the pipeline engineering workflow.

Discovering the Benefits of ArcGIS Earth

With assistance from Camron Hull of Full Circle GIS Consulting, Romero looked into implementing ArcGIS Earth, an interactive 3D tool for planning, visualizing, and evaluating events. Romero found a few Kinetik engineering volunteers who were willing to try ArcGIS Earth for a few weeks. Based on their feedback, the benefits were clear: the app provided company-wide access to current, correct data and had a short training and adoption time.

Because ArcGIS Earth uses formats and processes—such as uploading and sharing information from KMZ files—that are similar to those that were already in place at Kinetik, teams were able to start working with the software almost immediately.

“I thought it would be a good fit [for staff members] because it can load KMZs just like they did with our previous software,” Romero explained. “ArcGIS Earth connects directly to Portal for ArcGIS, so our teams would always be able to access what we’ve published as our current data, and we would know that the information was good.”

An Accelerated, Modernized Workflow

Kinetik staff began using ArcGIS Earth as part of their pipeline workflow in 2022. Romero now hosts an authoritative pipeline dataset on Portal for ArcGIS, an ArcGIS Enterprise component that allows the sharing of maps, scenes, apps, and other geographic information. Project engineers and construction teams can create sketches or recommend data edits by sharing a KMZ file directly, and the latest information is shared with all project members.

“Our engineering workflow is moving more quickly because we know that users are connecting directly to live, published data,” Romero said. “It’s the latest and greatest of what we have in the GIS.”

ArcGIS Earth also provides Kinetik with a pathway to modernize its workflow even further by using the feature service editing capability added in last year’s 2.0 release. Users can edit feature services directly in ArcGIS Earth and customize attributes and geometry to suit their project needs.

Kinetik employees are already seeing results from using ArcGIS Earth—particularly in improved project timelines and costs.

“ArcGIS Earth has made collaborating easier for our project teams,” said Romero. “It has empowered them with an easy way to access the data readily in a format that they’re used to.”

Engineers have been quick to embrace the switch, and teams are finding that they can share project data quickly. The GIS team can help ensure that reliable company data is easily discoverable, understandable, and valuable to the people who need to use it.