Utility Taps Images to Help Keep Citizens Safe

3 Apr, 2006 By: Michelle Nicolson

PG+E of California relies on high-resolution aerial photographs to assess areas surrounding natural gas pipelines


More than 5,500 miles of natural gas pipeline snake across California, the nation's most populous state. Entrusted with the safety of the citizens who work and live nearby, PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) uses GIS technology to analyze areas surrounding the pipeline and to identify HCAs (high consequence areas) -- that is, areas with high concentrations of residences or structures that could be difficult to evacuate quickly in an emergency, such as hospitals, daycare centers and large office buildings.

Federal regulations require pipeline companies to determine the areas where an incident could impact an HCA and require added integrity evaluations to reduce the risk of an incident. At PG&E, staff members use ESRI's ArcGIS system to map pipelines and the surrounding areas. The GIS includes parcel data, land use data and aerial imagery purchased from AirPhotoUSA, which the pipeline integrity department uses for both maintenance and safety analyses. Even with this data, PG&E staff members found a need for more detailed information. The answer was GlobeXplorer's ImageConnect high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery, which the utility began integrating with ArcGIS last year.  Read more >>p>


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About the Author: Michelle Nicolson

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