PP&L Selects Software For Pole Inspection

MapFrame Corp., Dallas, Texas, U.S., has been selected by Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L), Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S., to provide a mobile Pole Inspection application running on high-performance pen computers.

MapFrame is customizing its FieldSmart Inspect software to provide PP&L with a highly specific pole damage and pole attachment survey tool. The utility expects field automation benefits to include increased revenues plus the ability to respond more quickly to maintenance and repair problems. The software will run on Walkabout Computer's Hammerhead tablets.

In a prototype version, MapFrame demonstrated the ability to incorporate data from PP&L's ARC/INFO facilities database into FieldSmart Inspect. Extending facilities data to the field allows users to view pole structures on site, quickly adding or editing information. MapFrame's Mobile Geographic Workspace will manage the flow of data between ARC/INFO and the field units.

The pole inspection software will also allow field personnel to quickly update pole conditions on site. Entering information is as simple as selecting from a list of damage "types" and tapping the computer screen. This highly intuitive interface makes it easy for field personnel with little computer experience to learn and use the system.

Southern California Edison Displays Mapboard After 30 years of displaying stations, substations and transmission lines on a carpeted wall in the control center, officials at Southern California Edison's Transmission & Distribution Center, Alhambra, California, U.S., decided it was time for a change. Karl Weigand, Southern California Edison's project manager and power system operating specialist, consulted other electricity suppliers throughout the region, and each one suggested the same solution-a dynamic mosaic mapboard designed and manufactured by Mauell Corp., Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

"Our main goal was to have dynamic indications fed directly from our EMS system," says Weigand. "The Mauell mosaic mapboard will give operators real-time information with a better overall view of the system than what can be obtained from limited computer screens."

Measuring 70 ft (21 m) by 9 ft (3 m), the mapboard is comprised of a matrix of 24 mm2 plastic tiles representing Southern California Edison's 50,000-sq mile (129,500-sq km) territory. The status of the entire transmission grid can be visualized at a glance and is depicted by painted graphics, engraved legends and dynamic indicators. The tiles snap into a carrier grid base system to form the continuous mapboard surface upon which real-time circuit breaker status, line loading indicators, Megavar, megawatt and line-voltage readouts, and control inner ties are incorporated.

CES International, ESRI Develop Relationship CES International Inc. has formed a business relationship with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) vendor ESRI, Redlands, California. The relationship calls for collaborative development of ongoing integration enhancements between Centricity and ArcInfo, as well as joint sales and marketing programs.

"This relationship will add significant value to our current mutual customers as we continue to build additional integrated features between Centricity and ArcInfo," says CES International vice president of marketing Don McDonnell. "Going forward, it also gives the high end of the distribution resource management market a warranted, best-of-breed approach for combined outage and operations resource management and GIS."

The nonexclusive relationship provides for program development of increased integration between CES International's Centricity operations resource management suite and ESRI's ArcInfo product through CES International's InterSys EAI solution. The development will leverage ESRI's published Spatial Database Engine (ArcSDE) APIs. In addition, ESRI and CES will work together in sales and marketing initiatives aimed at cooperatively securing new business opportunities. The companies currently are working together on several major contract opportunities and expect to secure a joint win later this quarter.

Intergraph Utilities Wins US$7 Million Contract Intergraph Utilities has been selected by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to provide a complete Geospatial Resource Management (GRM) solution, a component of SMUD's Service Delivery Information Technology (SDIT) system.

The US$7 million contract, announced after the conclusion of a competitive bid process, includes the purchase and integration of Intergraph's premier GIS software FRAMME, Intergraph's InService outage management software, LineSoft's LD-Pro design software, and Power Technology's PSS/Engines and PSS/Adept engineering support software. The SMUD contract also provides for project services, including project management, scope and requirements definition, implementation and integration, and system training.

The GRM system is designed to automate and streamline engineering, maintenance, construction and operations processes for the service delivery network that supports SMUD's 500,000+ electric customers. By implementing Intergraph's tightly integrated system, SMUD is able to complement its existing technology backbone by adding a geospatial perspective to business processes. The Intergraph Utilities system will also interface with SMUD's SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning system.

Foxboro Guarantees Automation Solutions The Foxboro Co., Foxboro, Massachusetts, U.S., is offering solutions that provide guaranteed measurable performance improvement with no capital investment.

"For the first time in the automation industry, our company is providing a value proposition that focuses on generating guaranteed economic benefits for customers," says William J. Ketelhut, Foxboro's president. "And the performance improvement is measured using the customer's own business metrics and strategic plan."

Ketelhut says customers can enjoy the benefits of the new value proposition without investing their own capital. "Using our flexible programs, customers can finance these automation investments through their maintenance budgets," he says.