The Evolution of GIS in the Power Industry

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have profoundly impacted the power industry. Understanding how GIS is utilized, its benefits, and future applications is crucial for industry professionals.

Initially, GIS was a simple tool for storing data attributes such as pole material type, installation dates, and other properties. This information was often maintained in spreadsheets or basic maps, which evolved to include geographic coordinates, making early maps more interactive. Often time these systems are characterized by limited data access, frequently controlled by a single gatekeeper.

Today’s GIS solutions offer advanced capabilities:

  1. Data Integration: Modern GIS systems allow for attaching images and documentation to assets, facilitating on-site access to critical information.
  2. Status Tracking: These systems can track and visualize various statuses, aiding in the management of inspections, restorations, and installations.
  3. Customizable Forms: Modern GIS enables the creation of specific inspection forms for different asset types, streamlining data entry and task assignment.
  4. Field Access: Mobile applications with offline capabilities ensure field workers can access and update information efficiently, enhancing productivity.
  5. Data Analysis and Integration: Advanced GIS systems support data analysis and integration with CAD solutions and APIs, improving accuracy and versatility.

GridIntel’s GIS Software Solution – Power-View enhances these capabilities by offering advanced data integration, customizable forms, and robust data analysis tools, tailored to meet the unique needs of the power industry.

Looking forward, GIS systems will integrate more closely with operational data and advanced management systems:

  1. Operational Integration: Future GIS will overlay operational data, integrating grid operations and planning more seamlessly with systems like ADMS, OMS, and FISR.
  2. Weather Data Integration: Including weather overlays will enhance asset visualization and planning capabilities.
  3. Artificial Intelligence: AI will analyze data trends and generate alerts for proactive maintenance and decision-making.

The transformation of GIS from basic mapping tools to sophisticated integrated systems has revolutionized the power industry. Modern GIS solutions like Power-View provide enhanced data integration, customizable forms, and robust data analysis capabilities. Future advancements will further integrate operational data, weather overlays, and AI-driven insights, paving the way for smarter, more efficient power grid management.


About the Author:

Dr Nathan Wallace, PE has BS degrees in Electrical Engineering, and Physics, a MS in Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Nathan is a CoFounder and Director of GridIntel. Nathan is actively involved in the IEEE-PES PSRC and PSCC technical committees and currently chairs two IEEE standards development working groups. Nathan is a licensed PE in AL, LA, MS, OH, and TN.