Easy Mobile Data Collection for Electric Utilities

Electric Coop Uses GeoJot+ App to Document Electrical System Model

A mid-sized public electric utility serving the approximately 50,000 customers in the south is using GeoJot+ to assure that their electrical systems model is current every day.

An electrical system model needs to be accurately documented with up to date information to maintain safety and compliance, manage outages, cut costs, and improve customer satisfaction. There are constant changes to a system due to aging infrastructure, weather events, and new assets.

Using the GeoJot+ app developed by GeoSpatial Experts, the utility’s linemen are able to quickly capture photos and essential data. The photo-based app is intuitive and simple to use on their iPhones and iPads. If linemen know how to take a picture, they can use GeoJot+.

When linemen see something in the field that does not match their field map, they pull their iPhone or iPad out of the truck and open the GeoJot+ app. They select the GeoJot+ form which correlates to the item. They take a picture and fill out the form that appears, then they are back to work. Data can automatically be sent back to the office via the cloud or put in a queue and sent up once they have connectivity. Collecting data is a very small part of a lineman’s job and it needs to be fast and easy.

Back at the office, all the data is loaded into co-op’s GIS and then output to the Partners app so they can view their updated maps in the field the following day. Soon GeoJot+ data will be automatically pulled into the Milsoft program to create a model where they can run engineering analysis.

This year about 100 crews will be using GeoJot+. To ensure high data quality and minimize technical troubleshooting in the field, IT staff configure GeoJot+ app settings remotely so that all of the mobile devices have the exactly the same settings. They are also able to automatically synchronize the data collection forms for all field users assuring consistent quality data.

To get the most out of their electrical systems model, the electric utility co-op needs to have correct and complete data about its assets in the field. They also want to make sure that knowledge of each individual lineman about an area is documented and available to every lineman. Having all of this data on demand avoids a lot of wasted time and money. Linemen used to make hand sketches and write down coordinates. Now they have a picture with data and exact locations using GeoJot+ in their iPads.

Assuring that all employees have access to the most up-to-date, accurate information allows utility co-ops to drive greater employee productivity and meet increasing customer expectations.