Mobile GIS Takes Flight with Owen Electric Asset Inspections
Owen Electric Cooperative serves 58,000 members with nearly 5,000 miles of power lines north of Louisville, Kentucky. Every year in preparation for tourist-drawing NASCAR events, Owen flies the part of its distribution network serving the Kentucky Speedway. Previous inspections required hand-delivered paper maps and at least a week’s worth of manual data entry.
User: Owen Electric Cooperative, serves 58,000 members with nearly 5,000 miles of power lines north of Louisville, Kentucky
Challenge: Inspections requiring hand-delivered paper maps and at least a week's worth of manual data entry
Results: Surveyed three full circuits, identifying repair and vegetation management needs, and offered a better view of transformer tops and other elevated assets.
What did they do?
Owen staff implemented a product suite—called geoOrganizer—made by Tennessee-based Esri partner GISbiz. iPads loaded with the product suite’s field inspection tool, geoFIT, went up in a chopper. Within three hours, the crew surveyed three full circuits, identifying repair and vegetation management needs. Data collection was synced to headquarters via the cloud, so maintenance crews could tackle service orders right away. The GPS-enabled product suite meant any field technicians—whether familiar with the area or not—could locate and service the job. Aerial inspection also offered a better view of transformer tops and other elevated assets, whereas terrestrial surveys had required line shutdowns for crews to climb towers.
Do I need this?
The GISbiz product suite appealed to Owen because it fully integrated with the Esri platform. Out of the box, geoOrganizer required minimal training and no IT resources. Additional tools include the user-friendly geoDASH for decision makers directing workflows from headquarters. There is also report generation for agencies such as FEMA and RUS. Time-stamping and geostamping document exactly when and where technicians perform on-site inspections, supporting the utility in compliance inquiries. Owen will expand this tool for storm damage assessment, which estimates savings in time spent getting lights back on and gains in customer satisfaction.
“Finally we have a tool that incorporates GPS tracking, our own system maps, and the inspection software my people need to get the job done. This was the winning combination we were looking for.” - Rusty Williams Senior VP of Operations and Technology Owen Electric Cooperative