Mobile and Web GIS Success at ENMAX

ENMAX leveraged ArcGIS and Schneider Electric’s ArcFM suite to take their mobility capabilities to the next level and keep ahead of industry trends.

“As geospatial tools become easier to use and integrate with other systems, the ability to leverage purpose-driven investments is greater than ever, bringing greater value to the overall GIS investment.”
- Ron Lewis, Manager, GIS and Asset Records

Transformations are happening across all industries, and the utility industry is no exception. Changing consumer expectations, distributed energy resources, and the rise of electric vehicles are just a few developments putting pressure on the grid. To keep pace and improve the bottom line, it is crucial for utilities to keep up with or stay ahead of technology.

ENMAX Power Corporation (ENMAX) is part of the ENMAX group of companies, which operates across the energy value chain – as a regulated wires company and a competitive power generator and energy retailer.  ENMAX owns, operates and maintains the electricity transmission and distribution system for Calgary, Alberta. Their mission is to power the potential of people, businesses and communities by safely and responsibly providing electricity and energy services.

Challenge

ENMAX has been using Esri solutions for over a decade to manage the location and connectivity of their utility infrastructure.  When they needed to move from a retired legacy product to a supported Esri-based solution appropriate for a utility, they took the opportunity to plan for a more digital future by upgrading their technology. ENMAX worked with Esri Canada to digitally transform their operations through mobility solutions and facilitate their transition to a cloud-based GIS.

While mobile solutions have been used at ENMAX over the last 10 years, they wanted to make sure they kept pace with recent advancements in GIS, which includes access to the technology and information beyond just the GIS department. At the same time, GIS was becoming the authoritative source of truth for the location and connectivity of Calgary’s electric infrastructure. This shift provided another reason to communicate the many benefits of GIS across the organization.

They evaluated the current state of their technology and determined what the future state needed to be. Mobility and web-enablement of GIS data was an important piece to the project. This included a cloud-first strategy that moved their GIS software and data into the Microsoft Azure cloud. They also wanted a solution that would leverage web services to deliver data and integrate with other systems.

Solution

The solution from Esri Canada involved three products: ArcFM desktop, ArcFM Web and ArcFM Mobile. The ArcFM suite, developed by Schneider Electric, is a powerful extension of the Esri ArcGIS platform. It provides the foundation for staff to capture, manage and update utility information. At ENMAX, ArcFM desktop does all the heavy lifting and acts as the centre of operations for the use of web and mobile.

The solution from Esri Canada involved three products: ArcFM desktop, ArcFM Web and ArcFM Mobile. The ArcFM suite, developed by Schneider Electric, is a powerful extension of the Esri ArcGIS platform. It provides the foundation for staff to capture, manage and update utility information. At ENMAX, ArcFM desktop does all the heavy lifting and acts as the centre of operations for the use of web and mobile.

ArcFM Mobile is used by crews on iPads when out in the field. The product is popular among the crews because the interface is tailored so that they view exactly what they need, saving time and effort when they need to get data quickly, see how it’s all connected and complete the job. The view is very similar to what the control centre sees, which allows for better decision-making when time is of the essence.

Benefits

The implementation of these three products has really allowed ENMAX to take their mobility capabilities to the next level. There is greater collaboration and integration with crews out in the field and staff in the office as the different platforms provide consistency, near real-time updates and authoritative information on ENMAX’s electric infrastructure. 

ArcFM Web is so easy to use that the number of users has more than doubled from 300 to over 700 as word got around that the solution is useful for more than just managing the location and connectivity of the electric utility infrastructure! It is a tool that almost anyone in the organization can benefit from since the basis of the tools are GIS in nature.

As an organization, everyone now spends less time managing information and using paper-based processes. Before implementing this solution, there was more reliance on PDFs created from CAD products, which are hard to maintain. They now rely very little on these PDFs and processes have been streamlined so that primary circuit diagrams, feeder maps, and other material come from GIS, not a CAD solution. Feedback happens in near real-time, which is essential when changes are being made frequently.

With GIS as the authoritative source of truth for location and connectivity at ENMAX, they now have a more complete picture of their network than ever before. This enables better and more effective decision-making in the field and in the office. More teams than ever are now able to get information from the GIS, as well as being able to disseminate spatial information internally and externally in a user-friendly manner.

The investment in the ArcGIS platform and ArcFM has positioned ENMAX for the future. They are not only keeping pace with changes in the industry, they are staying ahead of the curve and providing an example for other utilities to emulate.

Previous Video
Utility Network Management
Utility Network Management

The ArcGIS Utility Network supports the management, maintenance and analysis of increasingly complex networ...

Next
Empowering Water Utilities with Business Intelligence
Empowering Water Utilities with Business Intelligence

Find out how utilities can use business intelligence to manage water loss, identify water quality issues, a...

Have a comment or question?

Contact Us