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Technology to help utilities with transmission tower siting


circulatiing / flickr

Siting electric utility infrastructure and transmission lines can seem mind-boggling without the right project planning tools. Utility organizations must plan new transmission line projects carefully, accounting for multiple factors, from proximity to the grid, to existing infrastructure and property ownership. All the while, the utility must plan the expensive project in the most efficient way possible.

New technological advancements, including Web-based, utilities infrastructure management software and geographic information systems (GIS), are available to help power companies efficiently navigate the multitude of challenges in transmission tower siting.

GIS technology enhances the methods utility companies use to consider the many variables in transmission line siting. It also is an effective means of accessing and sharing relevant geographic information throughout their organization.

GIS allows users to access a wide variety of data sources and examine various data relationships associated with siting. GIS also provides a framework for modeling, line siting, land management, job tracking and virtually every phase of transmission line management. The organization’s users can visualize up-to-date infrastructure data, load management, power demand, outage information, land leases, schematics and more. This wide range of essential data helps the organization quickly identify network efficiencies and opportunities for transmission line expansion.

GIS also provides information on existing infrastructure and utilities, which must be considered when constructing large transmission towers. The Web-based mapping capability offers valuable data about topography and land use.

Just as valuable as GIS are the use of Web-based software solutions that help utilities with real estate property management and other areas of concern.

Development of new transmission lines spanning many miles requires agreements with hundreds, possibly thousands of property owners. Encroachment agreements that provide access to the towers must tracked and readily accessible to ensure maintenance of the assets.

A Web-based software system and centralized database can improve efficiencies of these critical tasks. By access mobile technology, field agents upload new project information and photos without having to return to the office. Notifications of tasks required under encroachment agreements can be automated by the appropriate schedule. An audit trail of work done in the project area prevents duplication of work.

Utility companies maintain scores of substations and hundreds of miles of towers, electricity transmission lines and gas distribution lines. Tracking such a large amount of infrastructure through maps, paper records or spreadsheets can lead to errors. The centralized Web database offers a more efficient and accurate process.

To learn more about Web-based software and GIS capability offered by geoAMPS can benefit your electric utility, visit or call 614-389-4871.

Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Consultant of geoAMPS, a Columbus, OH-area company that is the premier provider of software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets.

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