EnergyAustralia Mashups




Outage affected area on Google Earth Backdrop

Mashing up customer data, network and Google map

Australian electricity utility Energy Australia is using Mashups for media communications, senior management briefings and engineering collaboration. It is bringing GIS into the limelight by delivering information in a quick and user friendly way.

They paint a picture on a Google canvas of an outage situation, a proposed network change or critical infrastructure with output from GIS, customer service and outage management systems. Staff walk senior management through a scenario using the familiar backdrop of a Google map, switching easily into Google Earth 3D imagery or Streetview to clarify a question.

Craig Hersant and Daniel Hansen gave a paper at the Australian  GITA conference “Using GIS to accelerate business performance”. Daniel showed  how it is done in the Mashups workshop. To build on the workshop  we created a linked in Group called Mapping Mashups. Please Join our LinkedIn Group.

Simple outage mashup in Sydney for media briefing

The power of a well executed Mashup is that it does not overload the audience with information.  “Less is more”. It presents what people need step by step in an environment they feel comfortable with.  It is quick to create and to modify when someone asks “what if?”  The young web developer can create new permutations and combinations in a matter of hours or planners and technical staff create their own.

Too much information, such as a red dot on a map for every property affected by an outage or planned shutdown looks confusing and overloads the viewer.  A Mashup that simply shades the area affected is ideal for the media .  For internal briefings it can display feeders, customers affected and their contact details with key customers highlighted. One recent briefing overlaid Dial Before you Dig enquiries, colour coded by status.  The questions are always the same “What is it? Where is it? How is it connected?”

Outage modelling on a sub-station. Affected customers.

Energy Australia’s  ability to ‘mash’ data and expand its use is underpinned by standards. They use the FME translation engine to extract GIS data into a KML file and assig symbology; an OV2 file is downloaded to a Tom Tom to give an engineer directions to a substation or to follow the route of a critical feeder.

Mashups are widening access to information at EnergyAustralia. A planner creates a mashup to show what happens when a substation is taken out for maintenance and emails the url to a colleague so they see exactly the same picture. It takes some courage and confidence to put your data “out there”but as more people are using and checking it, data quality improves even further.