Data sources within a utility organization, both GIS and non-GIS data sources, are built in many ways and grow along many paths. It’s not so unusual that very useful data describing assets you have or might want in your GIS is not in the GIS now, but is in some other electronic form in your organization. Here are some examples:
Gas/Water Service Line Cards
It’s not unusual that service line that connects a customer meter to a distribution main is not a single continuous pipe of a constant size, material and history. Rather, the service can be composed of multiple “segments” differs sizes, materials, protection and work history. Information about these segments may be stored in electronic form, but not related to the GIS service line. Or it may be that service lines are not present in the GIS at all.
Analysis System Attributes
ArcGIS/ArcFM users like to think of the GIS as the system of record for utility network assets and that other applications, like planning or system analysis, might be fed from GIS data. In practice it does not always work this way. A company may have an “analysis” system database that may have properties (size, material, type, manufacturer, etc.) not present in the GIS.
A group responsible for transformer maintenance may have the most complete record of transformer equipment in the company – kept in a spreadsheet or MS-Access database. A group responsible for pole inspection may have extensive information about poles and joint use attachments. Your cathodic protection engineers may have a complete inventory of test points and coupon sites.
In each of these cases it may be possible to improve the content, quality and overall value of your GIS by incorporating information from other existing company sources.
It’s also likely the case that incorporating this data may not be simple. Frankly, if it were simple you probably would already have done it. BSL has experience with all of these cases and can help you navigate a path to improving the value of you GIS without compromising it by introducing data of questionable quality.