Protecting Critical infrastructure with Real-Time GIS Data

Sept. 17, 2021
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, Pa., keeps track of its real-time data using Esri's ArcGIS® GeoEvent™ Server.

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Presented by Esri

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, Pa., (MAWC) has a service territory of 2,000 square miles, serves 130,000 customers, other water utilities, heavy industry companies and a power production plant. With a fleet of over 300 vehicles and 2,500 miles of underground assets, MAWC keeps track of its real-time data using Esri’s ArcGIS® GeoEvent™ Server.

A Need for Real-Time Information

MAWC’s solutions to monitor its fleet and excavations were isolated from each other and from MAWC’s geographic information system (GIS) data. The utility wanted to incorporate real-time excavation notices from the Pennsylvania One Call System and integrate real-time vehicle speed, odometer reading, ignition status and locations into the GIS. When it became clear that GeoEvent Server could incorporate data from these solutions into the GIS, the decision was made to do so.

Integrating One Call and GIS

Before incorporating real-time excavation notices and associated dig boxes into the GIS, the location of excavations was only known to staff visiting sites and manually comparing locations with GIS to determine if assets needed to be marked. With GeoEvent Server, dig boxes appear on the utility’s web map along with GIS features, allowing staff to quickly understand where excavations are and what assets need to be marked. This also resulted in an unintended benefit: now, additional staff are aware of where excavations are taking place. Whether it is a customer communication representative or management being able to see where crews are digging, real-time data is being used to answer questions not directly related to locating.

Real-Time Vehicle Location

Incorporating vehicle locations was done via an API with Verizon Network Fleet. Several times a minute, monitored vehicles check in with Verizon. This information is sent to GeoEvent Server and visualized on maps for staff to consume. With work locations and vehicles on the map, completed tasks are seen in real-time. This has empowered management to find answers using maps and dashboards. Another benefit was that staff quickly identified units that were not returning data.

“Real-time GIS has become mission critical throughout everything we do at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County,” Tom Ceraso, assistant manager for MAWC said. “We are able to reduce our labor costs across various departments by having live data on a single GIS platform.”

Managing Data and Providing Answers

GeoEvent Server enables notifications based on specific criteria. As more events are processed, there is less need to constantly monitor the stream of incoming data. One example is the valve inspection and exercising program. Notifications are sent to the supervisor when a valve is not in its expected state. Because the status of a valve is critical, an email is automatically sent to the supervisor notifying him of the potential issue.

Since implementation, MAWC has expanded the role of GeoEvent Server. Staff using ArcGIS Collector for inspections now generate real-time email notifications. They also collect and display readings from automated reading compatible meters, achieving a common operating picture that was not possible before.

Esri technology is an essential tool for staff to manage critical infrastructure. Staff have access to mapping and real-time information that provides quick answers and supports better decision-making. MAWC’s assets are safer now that staff can see where excavation is taking place. Staff are safer should they lose communication while they are in the field, as management can now locate the closest agent or piece of equipment when moments count. WW

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