ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model meeting, Houston

Case histories from Enbridge Pipeline, Colonial and Questar and Dig-Smart’s ‘one call’ system.

The ESRI-backed ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model was initiated in 2002 from earlier work by M.J. Harden (now GE Energy). The highlight of the recent APDM user group meeting in Houston John Linehan’s presentation on Enbridge’s Pipeline’s Data Management System (EPDMS). Like other pipeline operators, Enbridge’s mapping program was accelerated by the 2002 ‘192 Gas Rule’ regulations that define High Consequence Areas, leading to an assessment of pipeline integrity risk assessment. The EPDMS program kicked off in 2004 with the aim of creating a ‘maintainable and dynamic mapping database based on ESRI’s ArcGIS.’


APDM was chosen over the PODS database as filling Enbridge’s requirements and supporting customization. A third party application was acquired for data editing and risk evaluation and the APDM 2 spatial database was instantiated on Microsoft SQL Server. The database was populated with centerline and attribute data and HCA’s located with public imagery and NPMS data for risking.

Phase II

A review in 2007 led to a number of changes including acquisition of recent aerial photography, digitization and identification of all structures near pipelines for DOT and HCA classification and sub-meter GPS verification of known HCA areas. The HCA and risk ranking tools were also upgraded and the database migrated to APDM 4.0.

One Call

Jim Schoenberg (Dig-Smart) advocates a GIS-centric ‘One Call’ system to automate the ‘call before you dig process’ and thereby avoid, for example, a backhoe rupturing a gas transmission line. Automating a one call system requires cross referencing between an address database and the one call system. Geocoding translates street addresses to actionable locations for the mobile workforce. Just as companies made the move from paper maps and records to GIS and digital data management, paper one call tickets are now moving to real time enabled ‘geographical ticked databases.’


Ted Peay (Questar) described data improvement as ‘infinite and daunting, requiring ongoing attention and unlimited resources to accomplish!’ Questar uses tornado plots to rank risk parameter sensitivity for compliance with the HCA rules. Improving pipe grade and wall thickness information was top priority. A workflow assured bi-directional data exchange between APDM and subject matter experts’ toolsets. Peay concluded that GIS is the only way to comply with the new integrity management regulations and that ‘APDM is serving us extremely well.’


Colonial Pipeline is testing a new hybrid feature/event-based model and working to reconcile pipeline centerline data with high accuracy GPS. NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage showed off its web-based GIS Information Portal, developed with ESRI’s GeoPortalToolkit. The APDM, an ESRI geodatabase implementation, can be downloaded from the ESRI website. More from

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