GIS Improves Access to Pipe Network Data, Enabling Speedier Customer Emergency Response
Industry—Electric and Gas
Tottori Gas delivers natural gas to customers in the area of Tottori City, the capital of Tottori Prefecture in Japan.
The utility's customized legacy pipe network mapping solution lacked features for offering employees access to network data from mobile devices.
Tottori Gas selected and implemented Esri's ArcGIS as its new GIS.
The new GIS is enabling company-wide mobile information sharing, providing employees with network data access anytime and anywhere, improving customer service.
The Tottori Gas company of Japan's Enetopia Group distributes natural gas to a population of about 200,000 people in the area of Tottori City, the capital of Tottori Prefecture. To acquire the functionality, security, and mobile capabilities necessary to support essential business activities—features lacking in Tottori Gas's legacy pipe network mapping system—planners decided to search for a successor geographic information system (GIS). Tottori Gas selected and implemented ArcGIS to provide the needed system upgrades and make data accessible to employees wherever they are located. Now, Tottori Gas employees are providing speedier customer service.
The parent company of Tottori Gas, Enetopia Group, is a comprehensive energy company active in the San'in region of southwest Japan. The San'in region includes the prefectures of Tottori and Shimane. In addition to the core gas business of safely and stably supplying city and liquid propane gas to local people, Enetopia Group provides services rooted in daily life, such as electricity, internet communication, and home delivery.
Tottori Gas's decades-old legacy pipe network mapping solution was implemented in a computer system for which replacement parts had become increasingly hard to find. Moreover, the legacy solution had limited capabilities and high repair costs and precluded expansion. In addition, the company needed to ensure separation of the regulated and unregulated parts of the business. Tottori Gas began planning for a successor GIS that would allow it to meet the business and regulatory challenges ahead.
Tottori Gas implemented ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online for multiple reasons.
One was that these technologies are available with a subscription-type cloud service that reduces initial costs and hardware maintenance costs and enables the latest functionality. Another reason was that online functions are available as standard. Tottori Gas also found that a variety of mobile application products can be used with the minimum licensing costs, making it possible for information to be viewed inside and outside the company on mobile terminals. Finally, the utility noted that ArcGIS is highly expandable, as it is based on general-purpose GIS.
The Enetopia Group distributed mobile terminals (smartphones and, in some cases, tablets) to all employees and was in an environment where cloud services and mobile apps could be used effectively. The problem of browsing pipeline facility information from jobsites was solved by sharing the map created with ArcGIS Pro to ArcGIS Online. In terms of the financial investment, subscriptions, and cloud services, ArcGIS will reduce costs, supporting the company's policy of lowering development expenses by using standard functions as much as possible.
Implementation of ArcGIS enabled Tottori Gas to reenvision its business processes.
By updating customer and pipeline facility information daily, teams working on jobsites have access to the latest data on gas usage and equipment owned.
Integration of ArcGIS Online with the customer information system allows output of a QR Code, as well as on-screen links and forms, enabling employees to seamlessly access customer locations and various other attributes.
Users are assigned access rights appropriate for their function, ensuring that the conduit department (security department) information is separate and secure from the retail department.
At the site, team members can browse drawings and site photographs in the online storage system along with the latest conduit facility and customer information, improving work quality and response speeds. This efficiency holds up even in an emergency response.
In addition, the use of mobile terminals supports the move toward becoming a paperless operation, leading to improved efficiency and lower risk of information leakage. The mobile devices also helped with the adoption of telework and decentralized work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Teams at Tottori Gas are considering mobile devices for disaster response and to further improve work efficiency. As natural disasters, such as heavy rains, earthquakes, and typhoons, become more frequent, local infrastructure companies must be prepared to quickly inform the community of the response status in the event of a disaster. Disclosing information on gas recovery in an emergency on ArcGIS will allow Tottori Gas to assist in maintaining the safety and security of its customers.
In addition, Tottori Gas hopes to improve efficiency by utilizing the ArcGIS apps provided free of charge. This includes supporting mobile work using ArcGIS Online and the field survey apps.