Member Story: FortisBC

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FortisBC touches the lives of their customers every day by providing the energy needed for their homes, schools and businesses. They deliver electricity, natural gas and propane safely and reliably, at the lowest possible cost.

FortisBC serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 communities. They are a regulated, Canadian owned utility, and deliver more energy than any other in British Columbia, approximately 21 percent of the total energy consumed. This is accomplished by more than 2,260 employees all focused on quality, service and customer satisfaction.

 

Piet Nooij, GIS Project Manager and Charlene Falcos, GIS Drafter. Charlene works on various phases of the conflation project.

Piet Nooij, GIS Project Manager and Charlene Falcos, GIS Drafter. Charlene works on various phases of the conflation project.

Piet Nooij, GIS Project Manager at FortisBC is a long-time member of the team, starting his career with BC Gas in May of 1998. He was brought on-board for the Automated Mapping Facility Management (AMFM) at BC Gas when the company moved their asset information from paper and CAD to a comprehensive Geographical Information System.

Piet recalls a meeting held in November of 1998; “This meeting and several others after, were attended by representatives from BC Hydro, BC Gas, TELUS, BC Government, the City of Surrey and others. It was the start of the discussions around the exchange of GIS data. These meetings were where the seed was planted for the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICI Society).”

The ICI Society was incorporated in May of 2001 and has become a leader in the sharing of geospatial information; driving collaboration, integration, adoption and use of spatial data for the social and economic benefit of British Columbia. The Society continues to work to facilitate collaborative integration of spatial data from Local Government, Provincial Government, First Nations and major Utilities in British Columbia.

Piet has continued to be involved as an active member in the Society throughout the years driving many strategic projects. In 2003 a partial conflation project was started which involved updating asset information using limited ICF land-base information to adjust the mains and align the service information with the new land-base. The difference between the old and the updated land-base was up to 220 meters and in one case 800 meters.

With the proliferation of more accurate and current land-base information becoming available through ICI Society, this conflation project was repeated and completed in 2010 to 2012, resulting in even better results and infrastructure alignment to the land-base. The new conflated FortisBC Gas data is now uploaded to the Society every Friday via GeoShare and published on the Member Web Map and Member Data Catalogue providing Local Governments with information they can either overlay or import to their GIS.

Both of these projects were facilitated by membership in the Society. Piet’s team was able to eliminate the need to work individually with each of the 135 Local Governments involved in the project because the ICI Society maintains data sharing agreements with each.

One of the ICI Society’s new initiatives is Joint Infrastructure Planning. This was also an idea that Piet started suggesting a few years ago. States Barry Logan, Executive Director, ICI Society; “Piet is a champion of the Society’s important Joint Infrastructure initiative. This initiative is intending to encourage Local Governments, Regional Districts and the utilities to work together on and leverage construction projects to achieve significant economies of scale and minimize citizen disruption.”

 FortisBC Mains and Services – Parcels and FortisBC data (click image to enlarge)

FortisBC Mains and Services – Parcels and FortisBC data (click image to enlarge)

 

 FortisBC Mains and Services – Parcels and FortisBC data (click image to enlarge)

FortisBC Mains and Services – Parcels and FortisBC data (click image to enlarge)

Piet and the FortisBC team are using a risk model, looking at threats and consequences and, considering fifty different factors. The tool indicates mains with a possible higher risk of failure and facilitates prioritization of replacement. The resulting project work information can then be shared by FortisBC to an integrated “Joint Infrastructure” feature class that will be serviced by ICI Society. The visibility provided by this information allows Local Governments to see where there are overlaps between their own planned infrastructure projects and that of FortisBC. This can drive coordination of the timing of planned projects to prevent multiple digging and inconvenience to citizens. The ultimate goal of the project is to create visibility of all projects – digging, landscaping, gas main replacements, road closures and more in order to create efficiencies and reduce costs.

FortisBC Data Profile (click Image to enlarge)

FortisBC Data Profile (click Image to enlarge)

Piet was also instrumental in the development of the Member Data Profile. This began in 2015 as an initiative to provide meta-data on shared data-sets. The Member data profile is an evolution from the ICI Society’s original Meta-Data Catalog that sought to leverage available information on member data to provide users with both convenience and confidence when using ICI Society data stores. “Piet volunteered to help the Society create a simple one page ‘Data Profile’ to better explain the specifics of FortisBC Gas data sets. This profile has been adopted by the Society for depicting all shared member data sets,” says Barry Logan. “This level of support from a member is truly appreciated and represents the highest value of contribution that can be realized by the Society. Thank you Piet.”

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