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Australian power co taps the power of GIS

Australia: With at least AUD 1.6 billion (AUD: Australian Dollar) in new initiatives underway across the world, Pacific Hydro has sought to marry the collaborative qualities of SharePoint with its GIS server. Through these initiatives, the company aims to make geospatial data more broadly available in offices in Australia, Chile and Brazil.

Maja Barnett, GIS Co-ordinator at Pacific Hydro, estimated that over 95 percent of documents across the organisation have some sort of geospatial reference. Barnett cited this as the reason for developing a system to spatially enable documents stored within SharePoint. SharePoint 2007 and an ESRI GIS server have been in place at the organisation since 2009, however initially there were no links between the two platforms.

Limitations of a centralised approach to GIS became evident as different departments failed to receive updates to geospatial data, meaning their maps may be out of date. “We treat our GIS as a centralised repository of information, its not just environmental data there is planning, legal and construction that all feed information into the GIS,” said Barnett.

The first objective was to open up GIS data stored within geodatabases and provide a dynamic link to the mapping interface within SharePoint. Visual Fusion from IDV solutions was selected to link SharePoint and ESRI to enable this. Melbourne-based IT integrated solutions company, Geomatic Technologies (GT), undertook the project to integrate the data sources, which ensures that any updates to the GIS data are now automatically reflected in the mapping interface.

Staff can now view the location of assets, for instance within a wind turbine power generator, and when selecting assets view additional information stored within the geodatabase.

The success of the system comes from empowering non-GIS users in the business to access and contribute toward the physical location of assets, documents and incidents. The Visual Fusion solution deployed by GT on the SharePoint platform has provided the tools to effectively extend the mapping and visualisation of business data without the need for all users to be trained in GIS.

Source: idm.net.au