What is a Map to You?-- Is it Cool?

Posted to Esri in the Digital Utility Group
image credit: Photo 61888273 © Szefei |
Pat  Hohl's picture
Director - Electric Industry Solutions, Esri

Pat Hohl, PE, is Esri's director of electric industry solutions. He was a pioneer in the use of GIS for electric utilities. He has over 35 years of experience in utility engineering, technology...

  • Member since 2018
  • 153 items added with 220,552 views
  • Nov 17, 2022

Have you ever seen a utility office without a map? Of course not!

In a service center, you’ll see depictions of territories, routes, and circuits. An engineering office has a dazzling array of maps displaying projects, plans, transmission routes, substations, etc.

Utilities Run on Maps

When you think of maps, what do you picture? Small prints to go, large rolls, flat files, hanging files, or giant wall maps - we use them all. The digital immigrant workforce assembled this set of tools based on decades of experience – functional - not really cool.

In contrast, ask a young person (digital native) about maps, and they’ll promptly grab their phone. To them, it’s a service - a means to get directions or find just about anything. Much better. A rich, accurate, up-to-date, and secure service used on any device – phone, tablet, or desktop – cool!

To a digital native, a paper map is an accessory at a classic car meet – a worn AAA freebie casually displayed on the seat for nostalgia – on-point – grandpa cool!

One of the top tech advances is the move to web services that give users what they need. Modern services provide fitting maps, apps, and data to users or other systems – anytime, anywhere, on any device – cool!

This method of delivery has other powerful benefits. All the considerations are contained in and managed by the service. It follows the rules. It knows what you are allowed to do and not allowed to do. As a result, the user’s end is simple – off the shelf – use your browser. It doesn’t have to worry about the details. The service handles it all – cool!

For utilities, new apps and maps can be created and rolled out immediately with a link or a QR code. Click -- you’re up and running – executive dashboard, customer-facing outage map, damage assessment app, inspections, orientation for mutual aid crews – very cool!

When a utility data service enforces user business and data rules, the result is consistency. Errors fall, and data quality skyrockets. Steps in the lengthy as-builting process become unnecessary accelerating throughput. Likewise, advanced applications like engineering analysis, OMS, and ADMS enjoy simplified integrations to access the network data they need.

Esri invests heavily in R&D to bring these modern capabilities to utilities. Capabilities are sorely needed to operate and optimize a resilient and sustainable future grid.

The next time you see a map, take a moment to see how leading utilities use GIS services to modernize their operations.

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Pat  Hohl's picture
Thank Pat for the Post!
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