in Calgary, Alberta,
PipeLines’ (TCPL) network of about 38,000 kilometres (24,000 miles) of pipeline
transports most of Western Canada’s natural gas production to the
fastest-growing markets in Canada and the United States.
TransCanada PipeLines also owns, controls, or has under construction
approximately 4,000 megawatts
In August 2002, the GeoFind project was started at TCPL to investigate the feasibility of combining functionality and data from two internally designed intranet Web applications that had complementary capabilities (FIND and XFIALS). Each application catered to a different business audience and different needs, although they were both used outside of their target audience group. The new application was to combine the best of both application worlds and be positioned for use enterprisewide, meeting the spatial needs of a vastly expanded user base.
The FIND system (Facility Information Database) enabled pipeline system design users to do comprehensive attribute searches and data maintenance on facility-based information found in the FIND database. The capacity and gas flow data is also used to help determine business needs for new facility requirements. The XFIALS (Extended Facility Information And Location System) system enabled pipe engineering users to do spatial navigation and analysis of facility-based information found in the ORION database.
With the help of Intergraph technology, TCPL created the GeoFind project, which is a joint production between the Pipe Engineering and Pipeline System Design departments. The GeoFind system allows users to complete database searches and data maintenance on facility-based information, as well as execute spatial navigation and analysis of facility-based information found in the ORION database. GeoMedia® WebMap Professional was selected for this project and its XFIALS predecessor because the technology was able to leverage an existing knowledge and object base from earlier GIS initiatives that utilized GeoMedia and GeoMedia Professional. For example, the PRIME (Pipeline Risk Information Management Enabler) system uses GeoMedia technology and dynamic segmentation with TCPL’s quantitative risk models to determine a systemwide risk profile of the pipeline. Intergraph technology was selected for the PRIME project for its object-oriented design, nonproprietary programming language, direct access to data in multiple databases and formats, support of both Oracle® Spatial and linear referencing systems, and flexible programming options.
“I find the GeoFind system particularly useful for getting details on pipelines and facilities when I am reviewing and approving projects, analyzing incidents, and more,” said Corey Goulet, Director, Pipe Engineering, TransCanada PipeLines.
“This is a great step in the evolution of tools (XFIALS and FIND) from serving specific business needs to a single integrated tool that can serve the needs of many users, maintaining and improving value while finding new opportunities to leverage off the platform that has been created.”
Users are now able to log into the GeoFind system and, based on the groups that they belong to, are provided with a customized user interface that governs both the data and functionality that is available. By changing configuration information in the database, existing profiles can be modified to make new data available, change the display characteristics of legend items, provide customized links to other applications, change who accesses the profile, and more. In addition, the advanced reporting capabilities of GeoFind provide users with a quick and easy way of summarizing and publishing query results. The regional offices, which are geographically dispersed throughout Canada, have utilized the extensive map capabilities to plan work and navigate to job sites.
This configuration flexibility enables the GeoFind system to be accessed by a constantly growing and diverse user audience without becoming too complicated for non-traditional users. Standard map functionality has now been enhanced to provide for the comprehensive, multi-field wildcard searches that were common in the GeoFind application. Search results can be sent to a table, Excel spreadsheet, or to the map as a query. Restricting the search to the map boundaries can further filter searches against spatial data. The project provides employees with both advanced query and geospatial search capabilities on TCPL facilities. This enables staff to make timely business decisions as they are able to perform data searches quicker.
“GeoFind represents a technical milestone for TCPL, bringing many diverse technologies together seamlessly to meet expanding enterprisewide needs for spatial data visualization and analysis,” stated Stuart Thompson, Project Manager, GeoFind. “Our use of Web Services to deliver GIS functionality, FileNet EDMS as our source for dynamic satellite imagery and AutoCad Basemap integration, and iMQ middleware for enabling data publish/subscribe options with other applications has positioned GeoFind for enterprise growth and expansion.”
Expansion is already underway within the environment group to provide new profiles and access to environmental data such as hazardous materials, vegetation management, etc. Additional work is also being done to consolidate redundant data sources to augment the relevance of the current facility data set. Over time, it is expected this tool will have an enterprise reach as the company’s GIS portal. Opportunities currently being investigated are in the areas of taxation, landowner information, government relations, and crisis management for their facilities.