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GIS Deployment and Pipeline Spatial Confidence Using ArcReader Michael Mixter BP America Durango, Colorado, USA

GIS Deployment and Pipeline Spatial Confidence Using … › library › userconf › pug...reconcile pipeline spatial confidence relative to the criticalness of their information

Jul 06, 2020



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  • GIS Deployment and Pipeline Spatial Confidence Using


    Michael MixterBP America

    Durango, Colorado, USA

  • GIS Deployment and Pipeline Spatial Confidence Using ArcReader

    ArcReader is used to distribute gathering facilities GIS data within a major operator’s field organization to office- and field-based employees. ArcReader was selected because it is an inexpensive, expedient, and simple-to-use solution to distribute previously unavailable GIS data to a large user base. ArcView with the Publisher extension produces "pmf" documents that are accessed either via the network (office personnel) or stand-alone (field-based personnel). Over 1500 miles of pipelines are included in the GIS dataset; pipeline spatial accuracy/confidence is reflected both in pipe attributes and GPSROW point attributes and symbology. Smart users are able to reconcile pipeline spatial confidence relative to the criticalness of their information needs. By combining ArcReader and effective attributing and symbology, users of pipeline data have easy access to the tools with which to view, and interpret the quality of important spatial data.

  • Context Map – Area of Operations

  • Introduction & OverviewIn mid-2005, BP America Durango Co (BPD) deployed ESRI’s ArcReader software as primary GIS data distribution mediumAlready had a quality, comprehensive GIS data set, but limited number of users with ArcView

    Organization relied on GIS techs and paper maps for GIS information

    ArcReader deployed for office- and field-based usersApproximately 100 new usersApproximately 150 data layers provide rich optionsSpatial confidence indicators coded into GIS

    Smart users can reconcile spatial confidence relative to the criticalness of their information needs

  • Background - General

    BP Durango gathers gas for market with extensive facilities – wells, compressors, and more than 1500 miles of pipeWorkforce is mix of office- and field- based employeesDue to facilities-based nature of business, GIS should be part of Information System toolbox

  • Background – 11 Year GIS History1995:

    Comprehensive GPS field inventory performed using map-grade GPS equipmentRudimentary, CAD-based GIS deployed

    Continuous evolution of GIS:GPS equipment from sub-meter to sub-foot accuracyContinuous refinement of GPS mapping techniquesGIS software to ArcView versions 2, 3.x, & 8.3

    GIS data set expansion driven by:Acquisitions, mergers, consolidationsImproving software analytical capacityGrowing demand, increased application & user capability

  • Background – GIS Management1995 – 2004: Centralized GIS Model

    One team managed GIS data set and applications on behalf of organization

    Growing user base exceeded support capacity“Distribution and Support Bottleneck” evolved

    2005: Change to more of a Distributed GIS ModelGIS data set managed and distributed by one group on behalf of organizationGIS applications distributed throughout organization

    Individual teams have GIS techs using ArcView to support each team’s unique GIS application needs

    Still needed GIS data distribution for casual user, thus the search for GIS data distribution software (DDS)

  • DDS Prerequisites & ConsiderationsBPD determined that GIS data distribution software should:

    Support broad user needs, from planning to productionBe easy to use:

    Simple, low-cost rapid trainingDon’t overwhelm and possibly alienate new GIS users

    Be widely distributable to office and field personnel via desktop and laptop deploymentBalance cost and benefitUse existing GIS data set without disruption & changeMaintain established look & feel of existing familiar GIS data and symbology

  • DDS Option: ArcView Deployment

    Mass ArcView deployment was dismissed due to:Large number of licensesDisproportionately large learning curve for reader softwareRisk of alienating new GIS users with new complex software

  • DDS Option: 3rd Party SoftwareLots of great third party vendor software on marketBPD impressions at evaluation time:

    Pros:May be based on ESRI platformLots of functionality & broad sophisticated capabilityWeb-based good for office employeesUse live data

    Cons:Web-based excludes field employeesImplementation lead timePotential complexity of system and training penaltyPotentially substantial costIssues: data conversions, serving data, admin supportFeasibility of future data conversion to other formats?

  • DDS Option: ArcReaderArcReader is free ESRI GIS reader software (Publisher extension purchase required)Reads a “PMF” file – Published Map FilePMF files created in house using ArcMapPMF files are un-editable dynamic/interactive maps

    Pros:Can be deployed stand-alone to field employeesRapid deployment from ArcMap, low maintenanceSimple to use, simple learning curve, in-house trainingFree software, supported by major company

    Inexpensive way to cultivate GIS user community and determine needs

    Seamless integration with existing ESRI softwareEasy data updates to network users

  • ArcReader optionCons:

    Limited functionality beyond map reading – lacks annotation tool, spatial query capability; functional customization not easyDoesn’t easily support generation of data feedback from users to GIS coordinatorUses snapshot of data vs. live dataUpdating field-based users can be a challengeMust create a one-size fits all pmf or a series of specialized PMF documents; user can’t add layers from data library, must use what is provided in PMFGood for quick paper field map generation, limited for display maps

  • ArcReader ImplementationBPD procured Publisher extensionQuickly published PMF filesPMF file and supporting layer files posted on network

    Vector data - 6 personal geodatabasesRaster data - DOQ, DRG, DEM

    Each network-based user installed ArcReaderNetwork users immediately functionalGIS coordinator wrote BPD-specific manual

    Covered ArcReader functions, introduction to layers, GIS data set information and interpretation guidelinesDocument became template for training presentations

  • Deployed one large PDF file for all users with approximately 150 layer files for rich data viewing options

    Logically organized into group layersSome data types displayed in multiple discreet layers, using definition queries & smart symbology

    Pipe displayed by service, size & material, or statusRoads displayed by type, either color or greyLight, medium, or dark hillshade under transparent photo or topo layers allow variable terrain emphasis

    Updated PMF and layer files posted on network or downloaded to stand-alone machinesUpdates done every few months, as subset snapshot of master GIS data set

  • ArcReader AssessmentUsed successfully within BPD for 1 year without surprises or disruptionsApproximately 100 active users, enjoy hands-on derivation of immediate resultsSignificantly enhanced how some employees do their jobsGIS techs free to work on more complex GIS tasksPaper map production decreasedNo performance complaints beyond network limitationsSuperior value – low cost, high functionality

  • ArcReader at BPD is the “90-90 What-Where”information extraction tool

    Satisfies 90% of people 90% of the time to answer basic “Where is it?” and “What do I know about it?”questions

    Limitations for BPD:Lack of ad hoc text and drawing tools

    Would greatly support user feedback to GIS coordinator

    Large PMF file with 150 layers opens slowly

  • Data Accuracy/Confidence in GISA perfect GIS dataset is:

    Accurate to a stated standardConsistentComplete

    Difficult to achieve in continuously evolving, yet mature GIS data setMapped underground pipelines always displayed in GIS within ROW, but…

    How accurately within the ROW is the pipe rendered?Smart GPS data collection and effective attributing allows users to interpret spatial confidence relative to criticalness of accuracy needs

  • Pipeline Data Sources

    Some possible ways to acquire pipeline data:Best - As-built survey dataVery Good - GPS positions from visual reconciliationsGood - GPS positions from pipeline locateFair to Poor – Inferred GPS positions or digitizing

    GPS ground disturbances or other unreliable sourcesDigitize pipeline from aerial photo

    Can’t always get as-built dataDrawings or data not always reliably converted to GISData may not exist, for example:

    Poor file managementAcquisitions where no data provided

  • Good GPS practices in thefield are the foundation ofgood facilities GIS data.

  • GPS Techniques – ConsiderationsGPS points are as accurate as the source

    Can collect an accurate position of a bad source pointGPS is consistently accurate; sources may not beA line composed of a series of points reflects the (potential) variability of the source pointsGPS underground pipeline mapping is inherently inferential, except where pipe is exposedBefore mapping underground pipelines, define in the GPS the domain of PI source types availableIn the field, note the source of a GPSd pipeline PI to reflect inherent confidence in the positionDo not use qualifiers such as Good, Fair, or Poor

  • GPS Techniques - Example

    Pipeline spatial confidence can be noted in pipeline attribute table (OK), or reflected in GPSd PIs (better)Hypothetical domain of GPSd underground pipeline PI sources:

    Locate – Pipe located with a pipeline locatorMarker – Pipeline surface markerOther – Other type of indicator, needs commentVent – Bored ROW/cased road crossing ventVerbal – Verbal instruction of pipe locationVisual – Visual reconciliation of pipe from open ditch or potholeWire Station – Cathodic test lead station

  • Possible confidence values for hypothetical GPSdunderground pipeline PI sources:

    Visual: High Conf - unarguable reconciliationLocate: Medium Conf - pipe located, but not visually verified. Reliability of locate may vary with corridor congestion and pipe material/traceability.Vent: Medium Conf - indicates presence of pipe, though vent may not be directly over pipe.Wire Station: Low Conf - may not be directly over pipe.Marker: Low Conf - pipe marking is only as good as the reason supporting or constraint affecting the placement.Verbal: Low Conf - people’s spatial recollections of buried pipe are typically not as good as they think.Other: Low Conf - likely to contain uncertainty

  • Sample Pipeline PI Symbology

    Hypothetical symbologyshowing source and confidence

    Hypothetical symbologydistilled down to show confidence only

    Pipeline PI By Source! Locate

    D Marker

    XW Other

    _ Vent

    [ Verbal

    ! Visual

    ! Wire Station

    Pipeline PI By ConfidenceHigh!



  • Sample With Pipeline & Symbology

  • Sample: Hypothetical Scenario -Evolution of Pipeline Mapping

    Hypothetical Mapping Scenario - Operator buys gathering system in acquisition. No accurate map data provided.

    Phase 1: Digitize pipeline on aerial photo for immediate renderingPhase 2: GPS immediately available Marker, Other, Vent, Verbal, and Wire Station pointsPhase 3: Locate pipe and GPS located PIsPhase 4: Subsequent pipe tie-in requires local excavation. Collect visual GPS points to unequivocally resolve pipe location.

  • Sample Progression, Phase 1: Digitize Pipeline on Aerial Photo

  • Sample Progression, Phase 2: GPS Immediately Available Points

  • Sample Progression, Phase 3: Locate Pipe and GPS Located PIs

  • Sample Progression, Phase 4: GPS Visual Points at Tie-in Excavation

  • Sample Progression, Phase 4: Detail of New Tie-in GPS Points

  • Conclusion

    Many great tools available for GIS data distributionArcReader effective for initial data distribution phase

    Rapidly grew substantial and competent GIS user baseLow risk and cost

    When combined with effective GIS data confidence rendering, value is delivered every dayArcReader helped define the user baseArcReader may prove to be a stepping-stone to more sophisticated tools, but for now is the remarkably effective and venerable “90-90 What-Where” tool

  • Author Information

    Michael MixterGIS Coordinator, North San JuanBP America Production Company380 Airport RoadDurango, Colorado, 81303Office: 970-247-6800Fax: 970-247-6825,

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