Our Work: Natural Gas Utility Field Mobile Map

Each summer, ENSTAR technicians were required to inspect more than 30,000 gas meters and record meter conditions on pre-printed paper forms.

ENSTAR wanted to improve their work processes by having technicians capture this information electronically using mobile devices while simultaneously field verifying meter information.

The Solution

Resource Data designed and built the custom ENSTAR Mobile Maps (EMM) tool.

The application features an offline map interface with ENSTAR-specific data such as meter setting locations, meter IDs, and service lines. With EMM, technicians can search for locations and visually differentiate work order statuses and which meters have been visited by the inspection program.

For each meter setting and individual meter, technicians can

  • Enter IDs and other identifying information to support field verification of meters
  • Enter radio transmitter IDs using a barcode scanner
  • Record physical conditions to meet integrity management requirements
  • Take pictures, which are automatically associated with the meter

When the mobile device is connected to ENSTAR’s network, the technician can synchronize data, downloading the latest maps, work orders, and documents and uploading the field-entered data.

Our Approach

When the project began, ENSTAR knew they wanted to capture information electronically in the field but hadn’t selected a device. Therefore, in addition to gathering functional requirements, we also gathered hardware requirements and helped ENSTAR select Trimble devices.

We then developed an ArcPAD proof-of-concept application before completing the production version. Based on the in-field success of this application, ENSTAR requested enhancements, such as adding more data fields, to make the inspection process completely paperless.

In addition to making these enhancements, we also ported the application to Windows 7 and ArcGIS Mobile, which were ENSTAR’s new standard for mobile development.

EMM was so successful in meeting ENSTAR’s needs, ENSTAR later asked us to add modules for other programs, such as repairs to Extrube service lines.