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Question

Looking for the price range of GIS (Geographic Information System) for power utilities?

Oren Ahronson's picture
COO Evolution Energy

I am the COO of Evolution Energy. Back to the energy business after few years in other industries, and happy to be back.Evolution Energy provides smart AI solutions to the electrical utilities...

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I know the answer is broad, but wanted to get a sense about the ballpark costs (installation, license, service) of such a system.

any help will be very much appreciated 

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Best Answer

Hi Oren,

GIS System Pricing

The cost of your GIS implementation is dependent upon several key factors including how your organization will use the system, your need for advanced capabilities and the state and quality of your existing data.

Getting Started – Base GIS System

The base install of GIS editing and web browsing software will be in the $500K to $800K range plus the GIS product vendor’s cost of their ELA being driven by number of users.  Depending on which GIS vendor, you may want to add to the base GIS technology software products that were built specifically for electric utilities to manage the daily maintenance of their electric network which will add $250K to $400K.  These products have software licensing tied to number of editors.

Maintaining your as-designed and as-built states of your electric network is the primary function of the data editing within a GIS.

Enterprise GIS for Advanced Capabilities

The high value of an enterprise GIS is using it to feed the network to your operational systems: ADMS or OMS; engineering planning systems and work management systems.  With modern enterprise GIS technology that includes mobile GIS applications, we believe using the GIS to plan, create, dispatch, perform, monitor and report on for all planned compliance, inspection and maintenance work is a great use of enterprise GIS technology with the integration to your EAM of choice with all job completion details including labor and materials.  Using the spatial BI power of the enterprise GIS makes it a natural technology for things like reliability engineering analysis and outage communication dashboards. 

UDC has an electric enterprise GIS reference architecture that addresses using the enterprise GIS in all of these electric energy delivery business areas and integrating the GIS with the other business domain systems: ADMS, OMS, DERMS, CIS, CRM, AMI, MDMS,  MWM, EAM, Engineering, GWD, CMS and CAD.  These are typically broken up into business releases that are focused on a few business applications and the related set of enterprise GIS applications and integrations.  Based on the number of related energy delivery systems in use, a range of $6M to $10M depending if you take advantage of some of the enterprise GIS implementation frameworks available that bring enterprise GIS applications and field applications.  UDC does perform both enterprise GIS and ADMS roadmaps for our electric utility clients and can help with business cases to secure funding for an enterprise GIS and ADMS implementations.  As GIS has grown into the enterprise software space, there are some change management challenges as well that will need to be addressed with an enterprise GIS deployment.

Preparing Your Data for GIS

Last but not least, a GIS needs to be populated with your circuits and substations.  If going from paper and CAD to GIS, we call this data conversion and its cost is based on number of data sources that must be touched in order to populate the GIS manually.  If you are upgrading from an existing GIS, then it should be a digital data migration.  Data Conversions can run into the tens of millions depending on number of circuits and customers.  Data Migrations will be in the $500K - $800K range if you are taking advantage of data migration frameworks and depending on the quality of the data in the current GIS and how much of the newer functionality found in modern GIS’s is looking to be enabled.

Thank you, Tom Helmer 

Oren Ahronson's picture
Oren Ahronson on Apr 4, 2021

Thank you Tom. Much appreciated! 

Oren, you have some great answers so far.  I'd like to add two comments:

  1. In my experience the "data" part of the price of GIS for a utility can easily be ~80% of the total cost.  As my friend Tom Helmer describes this can be data migration (relatively lower cost) or data conversion (relatively higher cost).  Don't underestimate this important component.
  2. GIS platforms vs. Utility GIS Solutions - There is a difference between implementing a GIS platform for a utility and the additional specialized "extensions" that do things like advanced editing, network modeling and analysis, graphic work design, etc.  This can add significant cost, but they come with significant added value.
Oren Ahronson's picture
Oren Ahronson on Apr 4, 2021

Thank you Danny for these insights. much appreciated. 

Hi Oren....that is a complicated, very wide question. It depends on what functionality you need, what you are trying to do with it, number of users, how you are deploying it and where you your business exists. It can range from the $10,000's well into the Millions. Some large Tier 1 utilities value their platforms into the 100s of millions.

If you connect directly with me, I will ask a few questions and give you a closer number.

Oren Ahronson's picture
Oren Ahronson on Apr 4, 2021

Thank you very much Robert, 
I will reach out to you for further details. 

 

All the best,

 

Oren 

Oren, 

That is too broad to give you a meaningful answer. Please clarify what you are looking for in terms of size, user base, data, other system ties, etc.

Thank-you, -Pat Hohl

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