Fort Hill Natural Gas Authority (FHNGA) distributes natural gas to parts of South Carolina. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt entity established by the state legislature. Until recently, FHNGA hadn’t found the best mobile solution for its field inspections and maintenance work.
Changes in federal utilities regulations required FHNGA to show improvements throughout its operating systems with historical data. To track annual inspections and maintenance issues, FHNGA wanted an advanced geographic information system (GIS) that could pull up the complete historical data on a particular asset. This way, federal inspectors could see any operational, sustainability, and system improvements information.
User: Fort Hill Natural Gas Authority, natural-gas distribution utility in Easley, South Carolina
Challenge: FHNGA wanted to replace its outdated legacy mapping system with an advanced GIS that included mobile features
Solutions: FHNGA chose Esri for its industryleading GIS platform and GEOJobe for its online GIS solutions
Results: FHNGA saw huge time and money savings, streamlined processes, and the elimination of traditionally printed maps.
FHNGA selected Esri for its mobile technologies and partner solutions, which could provide fieldworkers and construction and underground crews with mobile GIS. The utility picked GEO-Jobe for its experience and expertise in deploying an ArcGIS Online model that works. FHNGA had limited internal familiarity with GIS. GEO-Jobe kept the project on track and accurate while personalizing its solution to FHNGA’s needs.
FHNGA adopted the full Esri® platform including ArcGIS® for Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS Online, and the Collector for ArcGIS Explorer for ArcGIS apps. Onto this, FHNGA added three GEO-Jobe solutions: GEOPowered Cloud (for ArcGIS for Server via SaaS), AutoExchange Cloud Synchronization, and ArcGIS Online Launch. GEO-Jobe migrated the utility’s data into an Spatial Database Engine (SDE) personal geodatabase, implemented a high-accuracy data collection workflow on Trimble technology, and implemented ArcGIS for Server via its GEOPowered Cloud solution. The partner also configured FHNGA’s organizational account via GEO-Jobe’s Launch Package, trained FHNGA staff, and configured the Collector and Explorer for ArcGIS apps for use on iOS mobile devices. More than half of the utility’s employees access the GIS in the field and office.
Eric Foster, FHNGA’s network administrator, credits the Esri platform and GEOJobe solutions with helping field crews complete work faster and more accurately than on any system the utility has tried in the past. Workers from young to old have picked up the mobile workflows quickly and with minimal problems. The utility notes “huge time savings that equate to big money savings.” It has eliminated the need to print certain maps, and employees have greater access to the information they need without reliance on colleagues. Real-time information is accessible whereas with the legacy system, this was not possible. Efficiency has improved, and Foster states that FHNGA has exceeded its goals.
“When you look at all of the attributes you would need to map under a traditional system, it could take 10 to 15 years. With the Esri platform, we’ve been able to do 75 percent of that in a two- to three year window.” - Eric Foster Network Administrator, Fort Hill Nautral Gas Authority