PODS 2012 user conference

New ‘open’ spatial model. PODS/Iploca data standards. Enterprise Products Project 2020.

Speaking at the Pipeline open data standard association’s 2012 user conference in Houston earlier this year, PODS director Janet Sinclair welcomed Chevron and BP into the PODS fold and observed that attendance, 267 from 9 countries with a 50/50 split between operators and service companies, had doubled since 2010.

PODS president Paul Herrmann outlined the organization’s accomplishments and future strategy. 2012 saw the finalization of the 5.1.1 release of the joint PODS/ESRI spatialized database. PODS has also released a major new version– V6.0 of its model and is working on an ‘open’ (i.e. not necessarily ESRI) spatial model. The strategic directions see further growth of the data model with extensions to distribution and gathering and support for international users. The model is also to be modularized to mitigate its growth and facilitate domain-specific deployment. PODS is also developing sample data sets and best practice guides for use.

Sinclair reported from PODS work group activity. The gas distribution model workgroup is evaluating the feasibility of incorporating its gas distribution model into the main PODS model. PODS has also been working with the Geneva, Switzerland headquartered International pipe line and offshore contractors association (Iploca) on data standards for new construction. The idea is to develop a new PODS construction module for use in the front-end engineering design and construction phases of a new onshore or offshore pipeline and to support the transfer of critical ‘as-built’ information from the construction phase into an operator’s PODS database. The initiative would inject pipeline stationing concepts into the design and build phases and allow the linkage of procurement data, field survey and other information across the pipeline lifecycle.

Tim Williams of Boardwalk Pipelines presented the PODS open spatial project that builds on the Open geospatial consortium’s (OGC) standard portfolio. For operators, storing data in a standard, open way means access to a larger pool of potential service and application providers. Whereas the current flavor of PODS Spatial requires GIS specialists for its management, PODS open spatial is Microsoft and Oracle compatible and can be managed by ‘standard’ IT resources. This potentially means that GIS functionality like proximity-based searching is available to non-GIS developers using an extended SQL library.

Gary Hoover described ‘Project 2020,’ Enterprise Products’ ground-up redesign of its midstream assets data model. The 2020 objectives include an engineering stationing-less deployment, an embedded open source database and open geospatial data types covering all midstream facilities and a service-oriented architecture. Hoover observed that the current highly normalized PODS model meant that a query for a single joint of pipe involves 30 Tables, 46 Table Joins and some 49 records. Even moderate denormalization means a 90% reduction in the number of joins and records required. Migrating from the proprietary spatial model to the OGC can eliminate data reformatting for mapping. The prototype also promises a 90% reduction in storage needs for inline inspection data. Overall Hoover reports a 10x reduction in model opex and ‘better alignment with current GPS survey techniques.’ Read the PODS presentations here.

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