Tag Archives: GIS

Utilising Map Activities

The Dampier Bunbury Pipeline (DBP) is WA’s key gas transmission pipeline. DBP forms part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) portfolio, delivering gas to more than two million Australian homes and businesses.

DBP use X-Info Suite to help manage its Lands Management, Encroachments, Dial Before You Dig, AS 2885 Safety Management Studies (SMS) and Pipeline Integrity Data to assist in protecting its WA and NT assets (approx 3,700km of gas transmission pipelines).

With the introduction of Map Activities to X-Info Suite in 2021, DBP’s GIS Manager, John Quigley, saw an opportunity to significantly improve how they were using X-Info Suite to share more information in an intuitive and meaningful way to more people across the business. John worked with the Mipela team to configure Map Activities right across X-Info Suite, enabling data to be visually represented on interactive maps, allowing users to quickly drill down into the detail or associated documentation.

John recently sat down with the Mipela team to talk about how X-Info Suite is used across their business.

“We have a long history of recorded communications with land owners associated with the operation of the pipelines”, said John. “The vision of how GIS could additionally assist in data management of new gas pipelines started way back in 1995. We have been able to build off this and increase the use of GIS across the business to assist users in their daily work. With the new Map Activities functions, we are now able to offer users improved search capabilities, with overlays of the most current aerial imagery and associated spatial data with increased speed, panning and presentation capabilities”.

“We are now able to utilise Map Activities and create customised online maps for various users across the business including Lands (Landowners, Easements, Encroachments, Approvals, Cultural, Environment, Access Roads, Mining and Exploration Tenements), Third Party Works (DBYD, New Crossings, As-Built), Regulatory (Pipeline Licence, AS 2885 SMS), Cathodic Protection (ILI Weld and Pipe Features, Maintenance Dig-Ups, CP infrastructure, CP and DCVG surveys), Engineering (Pipes, Welds, NDT, Coating, Drawings linked to location, Depth of Cover), Pipeline Development and Commercial (Potential new pipeline routes), Travel (SPOT mapping) and New Projects (Alignment Sheets, Line Lists, QA/QC, Progress mapping, As-Built)”.

“The volume of data in X-Info Suite is significant – not only from a historical perspective – but we are adding more and more data to the system. Recently we added approximately 550,000 ILI weld and pipe features from our recent pigging campaign. Activities has now enabled us to provide users with a quick and efficient way of finding data they are seeking”.

“It is important we collect and analyse new pipeline construction data appropriately so we can support our team to fulfil the quality and pipeline integrity requirements of the project. All pipes, welds and associated data and infrastructure are managed with the assistance of Sentanil Systems Construction Management System. We have now the ability to use hyperlinks to show associated images, photos, weld x-rays and documents for pipelines (that reside in QDMS) at a spatial location in Map Activities. This is a great way to search for documents via its location”.

“Capturing and mapping cultural heritage information is an important part of our business. All registered cultural sites for WA and NT are mapped. This is an important aspect of designing the route for a new gas pipeline. For the operating pipelines, we have many people travelling up and down the right of way (ROW) so it is important that they are aware of where nearby sites are. By double clicking on a site on an interactive map in X-Info Suite, they can quickly drill down into the detail associated with the sites”.

“With more than 6,500 crossings across the pipeline network, including roads, rivers, railways, third party pipelines and assets, the AS2885 Safety Management Studies are all managed within the X-Info SMS suite connection. “This would be very difficult to manage without X-Info SMS suite,” mentioned John. “The new map activities capabilities have given us the ability to enhance our presentation of the database and associated mapping that is used during the AS 2885 workshops”.

Another example, John said, “We are currently working with our travel team to improve our mapping interface with remote travel. Our operations and project teams work in very remote areas. By integrating our SPOT GPS travel data into our existing spatial data in X-Info Suite, we can quickly overlay our pipelines, facilities, access roads towns and accommodation, and locate where our people are travelling in relation to these. GPS data from vehicles is downloaded into the GIS via the SPOT system every half an hour. Map Activities has enabled us to produce a searchable tool to assist our travel team in managing our people’s remote travel”.

“I’m really looking forward to setting up the new bulk email tool that Mipela recently released in X-Info Connect 6.3. We are increasingly using emails as an efficient form of communication with our landowners and other entities associated with the pipeline. For example, every time we fly for aerial surveillance of our pipelines and facilities, we send an aerial notification email to affected landowners and airports. Recently notifications have extended to CP surveys and dig-ups, ROW slashing and maintenance, and landowner visits.  This new function will enable the process to be automated and give the ability to our Lands team to perform themselves”.

In summary John said, “Map Activities have really ramped things up for us. It allows the GIS data to be more and more utilised across the business. We have created Map Activities in X-Info Suite, based on roles and responsibilities, producing tailored maps and reports for those particular people and roles. We are seeing an increasing number of people across the business use GIS, and having quick and simple access to data and maps in the office and in the field is a key to this”.

Something GISsy

GIS Trivia: Australia’s HOW big?

  • Overall, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, China, the USA (including Alaska and Hawaii), and Brazil
  • The land area of Australia is 7,682,300 square km. This represents 5% of the world’s land area.
  • Australia is the world’s largest inhabited island and the smallest continent
  • The Australian coastline totals 36,735km (ask the Mipela-MAD cyclists!)
  • Australia’s Highway 1 is the world’s longest national highway road in the world. It has a length of 14,500km.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is the longest coral reef in the world, extending over 2,012.5km
  • Between the towns of Ooldia and Nurina in Western Australia, is the world’s longest straight stretch of railway, 478.4km in length
  • Dingo Fence of Australia is the world’s longest fence, its 5,331km in length. The Dingo Fence is a ‘pest-exclusion’ fence built in the 1880s and completed in 1885. Its main purpose is to shield the fertile south-east part of Australia from dingoes. The Dingo fence is longer than the Great Wall of China.

When it rains it pours

By Rob Collett

In February 2022 South East Queensland and northern New South Wales experienced a third widespread flooding event within the last 50 years. The 1-in-500 year ‘rain bomb’ event dumped over 700mm of rain from Friday 26 February to Sunday 28 February across Brisbane and the surrounding areas (Bureau of Meteorology). While it didn’t quite beat previous records set by the infamous 1974 and 2011 floods, the sheer amount of rain over such a relatively short timeframe caught many by surprise and will not be soon forgotten by those who lived through it.

The role that GIS and mapping services more broadly have to play is integral to disaster recovery and infrastructure planning. This latest weather event is a key datapoint that indicates South East Queensland could experience severe flooding more frequently than what was previously believed, perhaps not as frequently as once per decade but not as infrequently as once-in-a-lifetime. Brisbane City Council provides an interactive flood map that outlines the anticipated flood areas, sources of flooding and the peak level of flooding for the 1974 and 2011 floods. Undoubtedly the 2022 flood data will be collated and added to this service in due course.

1974 Historic Flood Mapping (Brisbane CBD and Surrounds) – Brisbane City Council

2011 Historic Flood Mapping (Brisbane CBD and Surrounds) – Brisbane City Council

The key difference this time around between 1974 and even 2011 is the significant improvement in mapping technology during that time. Not only are GIS tools and services better and satellite imagery in higher resolution, but the advancements in supplementary data collection and processing tools such as drone technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and wireless networks means that we have a more complete picture over a wider area than 2011 or 1974. Even something as simple as thousands of people capturing flooded areas on their mobile phones and uploading the pictures and video to social media with geolocation metadata enabled has created an exponential number of datapoints that could be used to better model potential flood areas. While flood maps have traditionally used major water channels and elevation maps to model flood areas, new sources of information capture can also help identify previously unknown low points such as road intersections or runoff points as well as areas with insufficient drainage.

Something GISsy – 90% of users just want a map

Most GIS Specialists have heard the saying “90% of GIS users just want a map”. So keep it simple: assuming your data is good, and you understand the requirements to build a map. Now what? How do you get it to the user?

Ignoring paper (due to cost, environmental unfriendly), lets look at digital delivery. These days nearly all users have mobile phones. Internationally, mobile Internet traffic sits at 54%. In Australia this is lower at 39%.

Lets see what trends there are regarding internet searches:

Well, at least maps are useful (according to the 6,770 million search results shown above). We have confirmed our opening statement “90% of GIS Users just want a map”. The technology or delivery service is not important to the users – we just need to get the map to them.

So, what about using a mobile app? The Top 10 Apps by Download  in 2020 (below) suggest that most users are more interested in Communication and Social media.

But looking at Travel Apps (below) we see Google Maps and Google Earth ranked at 2 + 3  respectively.

Summary

DELIVERY: Internet sites are ahead of mobile apps at this stage (6,778 million sites vs 88 million app downloads).

ACCESS : More and more users are using their mobiles, which can use apps and websites. Currently desktops require an emulator or mirroring software to use mobile apps. Microsoft has commenced development of an operating system (Windows 11) which has limited built in Android app support.

Keep it simple – get your maps out there!

Something GISSY – Geospatial vector file extensions

We all LOVE GIS data. “Everything happens somewhere”. But what happens when you get some really cool “data” for your project, eg. Roads.gpx? What is a .gpx file? The following is a quick 101 summary of some common vector file formats.

Shapefile (ESRI)

A shapefile actually consists of several files.

Mandatory

  • .shp file containing the feature geometries
  • .dbf file containing the attributes in dBase format
  • .shx index file.

Optional

  • .prj which contains the projection information
  • .xml is the associated metadata.
  • .sbn is the spatial index for optimizing queries.
  • .sbx optimises loading times.

If you ever receive a .shp only you will need to request that all three  files are sent in order to use the data. Recommended that the .prj is also mandatory.

.tab file (MapInfo)

MapInfo .tab files are a proprietary format for MapInfo software. Similar to shapefiles, they require a set of files to represent geographic information and attributes.

  • .dat files contain the tabular data associated as a dBase .dbf file
  • .id files are index files that link graphical objects to database information
  • .map files are the map objects that store geographic information
  • .ind files are index files for the tabular data.

Back to our “Roads.gpx”… which is a .gps Exchange format.

See https://gisgeography.com/gis-formats/  other common vector types.

If all else fails, a Google search can usually uncover some less common formats.

Mipela assist Luminous Energy in planning solar farms in Queensland

Farming in Australia is in a state of turmoil. Many farmers are saddled with unsustainably high debts and are hit by unstable crop prices. Extreme weather events, from mass flooding in 2011 to intolerable droughts in 2014, exacerbate the difficulties faced by Australian farmers. By diversifying into solar generation, farmers can regulate their annual income and secure their finances.

Luminous Energy specialises in the planning and development of large-scale photovoltaic power plants, from initial site selection to connection and commissioning. They organise the development of solar farms, taking projects from initial site selection up to the point at which they are ready to be built.

Luminous recently sought assistance from Mipela with data management and mapping support to produce plans suitable for property agreements and site constraint mapping for three proposed solar farm sites in Queensland.

As part of the planning and development process, Luminous are required to submit site development plans to local council and plans to accompany ecological assessments to State and Federal Government. With the decision makers being geographically spread between Australia and the UK rapid revisions of mapping was required. Having someone experienced on the ground who can interpret requirements and turn the work around in a timely manner like Mipela has been critical to the project so far. This well managed revision process has resulted in better project delivery with quickly delivered result in an effective manner.

More than just maps… How do we add value to your GIS?

At Mipela GeoSolutions our team uses a variety of systems and procedures to maximise your GIS productivity. It is not just about the maps. It is about efficiently integrating or massaging the data you have into information products and solutions. These products inform decision making in your organisation.

Mipela have built systems and workflows around GIS Work Request systems, Data Management logs, QC Checklists, Job Tracking, Issue logs. These systems are integrated into our GIS Project Management adding value to your project by ensuring knowledge retention, Continuous Learning, Quality Control and Continuity Assurance.

Value

Value is not just Cost and Time. What is your expectation about the Quality and Service you receive? Service is supported by Communication, which is fundamental to our Project Management system. Regular reporting, emails, phone conversations and meetings are all logged for the benefit of the entire team, not just the parties involved. Our Team approach means we work with you to achieve required outcomes.

The quality of the service we offer is managed by our QC System and peer review process. Our GIS team have degrees in Surveying, Engineering, Mathematics and the Spatial Sciences. This diverse qualification pool brings together different skill sets that are applied to problem solving and crafting your solution. The team is constantly looking to automate and optimise repetitive tasks. This results in faster, more consistent solutions.

Versatility

Our team GIS Specialists are competent in the major Industry Desktop products as well as open-source tools. We are able to provide on site GIS support, but can also work remotely if required.

Our systems are under constant review. All lessons learned are fed back to improve the process and solutions we deliver.

Continuous Learning and Feedback

Feedback and learning from experience are a crucial aspect of the GIS Services team. Using X-info Connect, issues and solutions are captured on the job.

This information is distributed via logs and reports to internal and external teams. Each piece of information is tracked from inception to resolution, including technical solutions and constraints.

Information distribution promotes the knowledge base of the team ensuring growth and development, whilst maximising knowledge retention and technical continuity assurance for our clients.

Field Data Conversation Efficiency

Murray & Associates (Qld) Pty Ltd is a team of professional Land and Engineering Surveyors and Town Planners. They demonstrate integrity and professional commitment to Queensland service provision and were established in 1946.

Working on the Origin Gas Pipeline Project, Murray were collecting data in the field but needed to transfer that data in accordance with the Origin Field Data Collection Dictionary. After consulting with Mipela GeoSolutions, a three stage approach was agreed to conduct a Feasibility Study, Develop a Model then Operationalising that Model. The model processed the source shapefiles and converted them into feature classes in a file geodatabase as provided by Origin.

The feature mapping file defined which shapefiles were to be transferred to the corresponding feature classes. It was configured for one to one mapping, many to one mapping, or one to many mapping. In addition to the feature mapping file, there was an attribute mapping file for every shapefile/feature class relationship.

Murray & Associates director, Andrew Campbell said, “Murray & Associates has been really happy with the communication and clear strategy presented by Mipela from the outset of this project. Mipela are a very professional company and we look forward to working with Mipela in the future.”

In a nutshell, Murray’s were satisfied because their business process was enhanced and they were able to turnaround work for their clients quickly. Their client, Origin was also satisfied, for getting their data sooner and in a suitable format.

For more information, please contact Dirk Craigie.

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Utilising Map Activities
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COVID update
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Latest Release
Staff Updates
Newbie profile
Something GISsy
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