TelDig Systems and Tadpole aim to cut Utilities’ Mounting Underground damage losses

TelDig Systems and Tadpole aim to cut Utilities’ Mounting Underground damage losses

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Utility vendors TelDig Systems and Tadpole-Cartesia jointly announced plans to build new software that could help utilities save millions of dollars each year from underground excavation accidents.

Under terms of an alliance, TelDig Systems will embed Tadpole’s field mapping software into its utility software. Its next generation, GIS-enriched solution scheduled for release this summer into TelDig’s customer base of One Call Centers, utilities and contract locators across North America will provide them with the first, fully automated, on-line “locate ticket” damage prevention process. The solution will enable users to scrap paper-rich manual operations, upgrade semi-automated systems, and send more accurate asset information to field excavation teams.

Utilities lose millions of dollars each year from underground accidents due to the lack of accurate asset information available to field workers. “A nightmare” is how the Skokie public works director(1) described one road construction project on a village board. “Gas mains were struck twice and water mains damaged 19 times as part of one street project. Much of the damage was the result of shortcomings in records, which did not show the existence of many of the lines that were hit. The village will have to pay the repair costs. Contractors will be billed for damages.”

Skokie’s experience illustrates a growing nationwide problem. According to the Office of Pipeline Safety(2), Hazardous Pipeline Operators alone experienced 3,035 accidents in underground operations from 1986 through 2001, which accounted for property damage in excess of $768 million. During the same period, Natural Gas Pipeline Operators(3) experienced 1,287 incidents, which caused property damage in excess of $285 million. Factor in direct and indirect losses from cable, electrical distribution, and water related operations, and the scale of the problem surpasses Skokie’s “nightmare.”

Damage prevention processes begin at One Call Centers all over North America. First, they receive and forward locate requests to local utilities for field intervention. Optimizing crew interventions by screening and sending validated locate requests is a first way for Call Centers to reduce costs using AM/FM or GIS data. The second is to provide utilities with detailed mapping of buried infrastructure in the field, in turn allowing field workers to provide excavators with the best possible information.

The alliance between TelDig Systems and Tadpole-Cartesia attacks both parts of the damage prevention process and problem. By embedding Tadpole’s Conic(TM) GIS technology into its TelDig(TM) Utility Suite, users will be able to integrate and deploy AM/FM or GIS data in the back-office software component where locate tickets are received, and in the field with TelDig(TM) Mobile. The new solution will allow office operators of TelDig Utility Suite, and field workers with TelDig Mobile, to view, send, edit, copy, paste and integrate AM/FM or GIS data in the entire locate process.