An Easy-to-Use tool for Network Tracing
As utility companies respond to outages, analyze their networks, plan maintenance work, upgrade infrastructure, and determine serviceability for new customers, among other tasks, an effective tracing tool can save a considerable amount of time on manual research and field trips.
Network tracing has always been an important function for utility workers (telecommunications, electricity, gas, or water and waste water services) when it comes to querying network connectivity. Utility workers benefit from comprehensive network tracing that can include full circuit reporting to upstream or downstream tracing, system source tracing, or tracing assets (e.g., the nearest cathodic protection test point).
Unfortunately, the current approach of tracing through desktop applications is more suited for GIS specialists than the typical end users. The number of steps involved in identifying the right location, placing flags, barriers, and trace type lies outside the skillset of many users. Moreover, the inability to fully interrogate the trace results may cause frustration with the results that are achieved. Beyond routine business operations, the planning and transition work for initiatives such as distributed generation resources (DER), advanced distribution management systems (ADMS), and microgrids requires simpler approaches for utility employees to analyze and understand the network connectivity.
With Avineon’s NetExplorer Widget for ArcGIS, users at utility and telecom companies can now rely on easy-to-use web based applications to trace and explore utility networks. A typical end user can choose and execute predefined traces in four easy clicks using the basic mode of the widget. The widget also includes an advanced mode for users needing greater flexibility when tracing networks.
With over two decades of expertise in the utility and GIS industry, Avineon identified an opportunity to simplify network tracing and make it more accessible to utility employees. With a focus on return on investment (ROI), Avineon developed the NetExplorer widget to enable GIS and IT departments to deploy streamlined tracing functionality with minimal effort.
Notable features of this widget include:
- Save and Reuse Traces: The widget allows users to save traces with user-friendly names such as “Customer Off Device,” “Load Off Switch,” “Cable Length by Phase,” or “Materials Off Protective Device” for reuse and sharing with other employees.
- Map Visualization of Trace Results: The widget highlights the trace results in a map view.
- Tree Visualization of Trace Results: The widget also displays the trace results in a tree view to allow drill downs.
- Interaction with Trace Results: The widget allows easy interaction and navigation within trace results through context menus in the tree view for zoom and locate.
- Summarize Trace Results: The widget easily summarizes the trace results by fields of interest such as phase, material, status, pressure, circuit, work order, or compatible unit.
- Include Related Objects in Trace Results: The widget provides functionality to include objects (e.g. structures, customers, etc.) related to the trace results in a tree view.
- Export Trace Results: The widget provides functionality to easily export trace results to a CSV file.
The key advantages of this widget are:
- Accessibility: Being a web based tool, utility workers can access and analyze network connectivity any time they are connected to the web.
- Ease of Use: There is no formal training needed to use this widget, yielding a self-service paradigm for deploying and supporting network tracing functionality to any employee familiar with the utility’s network infrastructure.
- Easy to Deploy and Scale: The widget is ready to configure and use via Esri’s Web Application Builder for ArcGIS. It is available for use across multiple web applications and can scale with your ArcGIS Enterprise infrastructure.
With effective tracing, utility users can leverage GIS web applications for improving business processes across various departments including supply chain, reliability, planning, engineering, operations, and fieldwork.
Please reach out to us at Avineon through the Contact Us button on this page if you have any questions. Click here to get more information or request an online demonstration of Avineon’s NetExplorer Widget.