Australia: Ergon Energy, a Queensland utility, is experimenting with open source gaming engines and physics models in an effort to capitalise on a massive geospatial data set from its ongoing laser-mapping project.
Ergon hopes to create a comprehensive map that would function like the classic game SimCity, in which players built cityscapes and micromanaged a range of factors to change outcomes. “The vision that we”re ultimately trying to achieve is to build a SimCity-like model of the whole energy supply chain, right from the policy makers down to the end consumer,” ROAMES research director Matthew Coleman explained.
So far, Ergon has completed 10 percent of its year-old ROAMES project, expected to map out some 150,000km of power lines in the state of Queensland by June 2013. The project aims to collect about a petabyte of data a year by completing more than 900 regional aerial mapping runs with plane-mounted LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment.
Matthew Coleman said Ergon developers – including games industry veterans from companies like THQ – were building SimCity-like graphical interfaces to allow the firm to play out what-if scenarios with the data.
“The traditional asset management systems we”re used to today are moving away from tabular data sets and bringing that to a very rich, game-like environment,” he told iTnews.
“They”ll be more like SimCity. Utilities will be able to play out scenarios – for example, ”what if I deferred maintenance of all poles for the next five years” – and the system should be able to show us the effect of those changes.”