History—the EU ISPDM pipeline data flop

How the data model war was lost and the model found—with help from the Wayback Machine.

As a journal of record, we try to avoid lose ends and offer this brief summary of a project, the ‘Industry standard pipeline data management’ project (ISPDM) that we last reported on back in our October 2002 issue when the pipeline data wars were raging between MJ Harden, PODS and with Esri chipping in with a pipeline geodatabase.

As we reported at the time, the EU Commission saw fit to launch a third competing model—the ISPDM to provide a more ‘international’ footprint. The ISPDM project was endowed with a reported €1.8 million (with €1 million from the EU taxpayer) and produced an impressive if ephemeral set of deliverables that were the subject of a presentation1 to the IPC02 International pipeline conference held in Calgary. These included business object definitions, UML models and XML schemas.

The ISPDM model was briefly available on its own ispdm.org website. Unfortunately, after the millions had been spent, the parties involved (Thales, Andrew Palmer Associates, ETL Solutions, Rosen and POSC Caesar) decided that the PODS model had won the day and the ISPDM website was decommissioned, leaving practically nothing to show for the effort. The only online trace we could find was the Wayback machine’s recording of the ispdm.org website as it was in October 2002. Pipeline nostalgics can check it out on Wayback.

1. IPC02-27422 ISPDM, A 21st Century Data Hub for Pipeline Systems.

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