GIS is Changing our Understanding of Geography and Pipeline Safety in Canada
Enormous technological changes in the last few years have made GIS platforms and their related solutions indispensable to the energy industry. As we have moved from the information age to the innovation age, many energy companies are adopting new systems for pipeline planning and maintenance by literally seeing the big picture while having a clear understanding of all the interconnected details. GIS is integrative, visual, quantitative, analytic and has the power to organize things systematically.
Previous to the use of GIS – data collected would sit in disparate computer systems or on paper maps hidden out of site in file cabinets. This treasure-trove of information was left unused while organizations continually searched for innovative and useful ways to utilize their valuable data but often their solutions were futile and the results were limited.
Now organizations no longer have to look through hundreds of different maps and documents containing information about a pipeline, instead by using GIS, users are able to pull information from disparate systems and display the data together in detailed layered digital maps. These maps with their organized data make it indispensable for individuals and teams to visualize their plans and the building of their pipelines.
Additionally companies using GIS are able to adaptly monitor environmental changes through the use of LiDAR images, which show the terrain features along a route from when a pipeline was planned to when it was built. GIS also allows data to be compared alongside information from ongoing monitoring activities. Companies have access to all the historical data during the lifecycle of the pipeline and can analyze where the changes are more significant. This information can help detect if the land has moved, even by centimetres, and determine if there’s risk of a landslide or erosion.
For example, a company can use GIS to analyze historical maps of a river to find out if the river has migrated and if there’s a risk of the river migrating again. The pipeline route can then be planned accordingly.
So, how does a GIS help make pipelines safer?
1. Improved Pipeline Planning: The safety of the pipeline starts with routing. Pipeline routing includes identifying, measuring and analyzing terrain features, property boundaries, crossings and class location data for a route of least resistance.
2. Details important Environmental Information such as:
– Sensitive areas, wildlife habitats, watercourses and wetlands
– Landowner information
– Historical geographic data along the route
– Information on third-party infrastructure, such as underground structures, power lines, roads and railways
– Geohazards, such as steep slopes, landslides and seismic faults
– Information about aboriginal communities along the route
– Emergency response information for specific areas of a pipeline
3. Identifying Risks to Pipelines: Studying and assessing the prospective areas for patterns, anomalies and surface structures to avoid high consequence areas.
4. Production and Distribution: Creating solutions for transporting the crude energy from the drilling area to gathering facilities; planning where to place new pipelines or facilities; knowing where old pipelines or facilities already exist; monitoring the pipelines or facilities for maintenance.
5. Pipeline Monitoring and Integrity: Monitoring pipelines and the surrounding land for anything that would cause leaks, spills and corrosion, including when the pipeline is in need of maintenance.
6. Environmental Monitoring: Monitoring how a pipelines presence is affecting the surrounding environment and vice versa. This will help detect risk, as well as, when and where maintenance might be needed.
7. Facility and Pipeline Construction: Survey prospective areas and analyze reports to construct facilities and pipelines in areas that have low risk.
8. Regulatory Compliance: Data and Reports Management by determining risk, monitoring integrity, planning and analyzing emergency responses and managing public awareness.
GIS Dashboards provide a quick visual reference and because dashboards draw from different data sets companies are able to display different data sets alongside one another and in real time. This information provides a new comprehensive view where users can drill down in the map to see more details, photos, and even video to provide a more complete and compelling picture.
Creating aggregated data – GIS teams can exports data from different systems which allows different data sets to be brought together, viewed, and manipulated.
People have always been fascinated with understanding Earth. Ancient scholars in Rome, Greece, and China founded the study of geography over 2,500 years ago. Today, geography is more relevant than ever before, as issues of climate change, economic globalization, urban sprawl, biodiversity loss, sustainable agriculture, water quality and quantity, crime, cultural diversity, energy, tourism, political instability, and natural hazards grow in importance on a global scale but also increasingly affect our everyday lives.
Geography, coupled with GIS is helping us understand the Earth and apply geographic knowledge to a host of human activities. The outcome is the emergence of “the geographic approach” — a new way of thinking and problem solving that integrates geographic information into how we understand and manage our planet.
There is so much misinformation about Pipeline safety. Many are unaware that pipeline companies are using technology like never before to better plan and manage their routes. GIS is helping companies to continuously advance safety by improving the way they compile and analyze data about a pipeline right-of-way. By utilizing GIS, energy companies are able to save time and money when making decisions about constructing, repairing, removing or relocate pipelines and their facilities.
AiM GIS and Analytics offers a fully integrated in-house GIS team. With our team we are better able to respond to clients needs when it comes to GIS and mapping. Our technical expertise ensures we have the ability to adapt to processes, automate task as they develop, and are able to change as industry needs continue to evolve. Alongside our expertise, we have developed two proprietary software systems that streamline client data and increase overall visibility of assets.
1. AiM DOCS is a specialized tool that eliminates the need for hard copy construction packages while maintaining the ability to work offline.
2. AiM FUSION is a client data portal that serves up GEO SPATIAL DATA in an innovative way. This tool provides both visual and documentation clarity that is tailored to a client’s reporting and compliance on project status and progress.
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