Posted on April 25 2017
Modern Leak Survey Solutions Offer Operators More Than Just a Means to Perform Leak Surveys
by Leah Fitzgerald
Frequently when I attend conferences, I like to ask Leak Survey and Operation Managers about the pain points they feel on a day to day basis while trying to complete work. Recently, one Operation Manger told me a story of how he thought the Leak Survey contractor he had hired was doing a great job, completing field work and returning all required paperwork in a timely manner. To his amazement, he discovered the crew members were sitting in a hotel room highlighting paper maps and turning them in as completed Leak Surveys. I wondered if this Leak Survey contractor was just lazy, or was this a result of not having the correct tools and workflows in place to do the job?
Nowadays, Regulators are looking more closely at what Operators are doing. With the pending changes in the PHMSA 49 CFR 192 regulations, specifically those surrounding leak detection, it is possible that Operators may be required to implement "real-time leak detection systems" which "assist in recognizing and pinpointing the location of leaks". This is causing a trend in the industry towards a more seamless approach to performing Leak Surveys which entails moving away from a disconnected state. For example, those working on paper will have to adopt an electronic or traceable, verifiable and complete method. Most organizations struggle with this process and as mentioned in the above example, this uncertainty surrounding authentic data is a real pain point for many Operators.
A modern Leak Survey solution can help gas utilities streamline their operations and workflows. From managing, assigning and performing field work, to viewing real time data in an Executive Dashboard. Having a standardized set of field to office workflows ensures that everyone is accountable and completing their required tasks, it gives you confidence in your data and ensures that all of this is documented in the case of an audit.
Though the above example is extreme, it is real and there are many other examples of how a Leak Survey Manager can stay up at night wondering if his contractors or field personnel are cutting corners. A modern Leak Survey solution can help alleviate worry and increase confidence. It should include a GPS breadcrumb trail which will not only prove a survey was completed but it also gives you the defendable proof needed in case of an audit. As an extra bonus it gives managers metrics to quantify productivity and employee performance.
Data collected in the field should also be captured and stored in structured forms so that it is automatically written back to your System of Record, ensuring your data is in a consistent format. This also eliminates human error and shortens the time gap between collection and online availability. It should include sketching and photo functionality to allow field crews to capture and record mapping errors they find in the field and have the capability to deliver them directly to the data technicians for correction. These additional features engage field crews making them part of the safety culture within the organization.
In addition to the field side of a modern Leak Survey solution is the back office. An Operation Manager needs to be able to easily and efficiently assign and manage work. Having the ability to make customized reports that utilizes all of the data in your Enterprise GIS is beneficial for setting up reoccurring reports as well as giving you the flexibility to create customized reports quickly and easily using any combination of your GIS attributes.
A solution of this type should also extend to the Executive level so that it unites all three levels of an organization: the field, the back office and Executives. This leg of the solution extends the reach of GIS and mapping of location based intelligence to a wider audience, to management and executives. It can help Executives see the state of their organization in real-time thus empowering them to make smart, informed decisions with confidence. Customizable widgets can simplify and sum up all of the organization's activities and allow Executives to focus on the areas of work that are most crucial and meaningful to them.
I believe it benefits companies to invest in proven, sound solutions and workflows that utilize GIS technology. Knowing that regardless of who they have collecting field data, whether it be a contractor or their own in-house crew, they can feel confident by owning their data and having control over their system of record, thereby putting a safety net around their entire organization.
For those of you wondering how to set up such a robust solution, Novara GeoSolutions Leak Survey Solution can capture the regulatory information needed to protect the organization in case of an event. This comprehensive solution gives users control to prioritize surveys, report on the process and enables support for all field operations, maintenance and compliance work. Supervisors can quickly and effortlessly monitor the compliance status of their assets. This customizable and affordable solution allows for quick assigning and reassigning of work and the review of collected field data. Users often see data improvements and increased productivity with this automated system because it allows technicians to do on?the?fly corrections when needed. If you are interested in learning more you can go to our website, www.novarageo.com, and view an archived webinar of our solution or you can contact me directly.
About Novara GeoSolutions:.
Novara GeoSolutions is a frontrunner in supplying the Energy industry with software solutions and consulting services to manage the full data lifecycle of pipeline assets. Our geospatial technology can be applied to a wide range of pipeline workflows such as DOT compliance, engineering design, asset management, right-of-way management, and mobile workforce computing. For more information, please visit www.novarageo.com.
About CHA Consulting, Inc.
CHA Consulting, Inc. is a highly diversified, full-service engineering and construction management firm providing a wide range of planning and design services to public, private and institutional clients. With more than 1,000 technical personnel and 40 offices, CHA offers engineering, architectural, survey, construction, and other services necessary to complete projects on time and within budget. For more information, please visit www.chacompanies.com.
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