More from the Esri EU petroleuem user group

Peter Veenstra demystifies ArcGIS location referencing for pipelines, seen as a game changer for operators. Exprodat presents common oil spill operating picture developed for Iogp and Ipieca.

Peter Veenstra (TRC Solutions) kicked off the ArcGIS location referencing for pipelines (Alrp) workshop held during last years’ Esri EU petroleum user group with a slide showing Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream.’ But no, this was not to be yet another pipeline data model ‘conversation,’ which we took as a reference to past data model scraps and also to the overlap between Esri’s utilities pipeline data model (Updm) and that of the Pipeline open data standards organization Pods (OITJ March Vol 20 N° 3).

A pipeline data model goes beyond traditional GIS. The starting point is the route/centerline but this can change with time as equipment is added or removed. Changes need to be tracked in what will be the system of record for operations, HSE and incident reporting. Veenstra enumerated some available pipeline data models Isat, Pods and Esri’s Apdm.

Which one should you use? The first answer is, use one! Traditionally pipeline data models were relational with all route information in tables. Later technology (Json, XML, SDE, PostGIS) brought ways to store spatial information and attributes in tables – combining the data model and spatial technology in one. Various solutions are now on offer, from in-house developed, vendor supplied and out-of-the-box solutions notably from Esri. All have their merits.

More recently Esri has extended its solution for gathering, midstream and distribution companies with Alrp which will be marketed along with a data review and workflow management capability. Full functionality, including linear referencing as a web service and a Microsoft ribbon GUI will require ArcGIS Pro. The data model implements four key tables – of calibration points, route definitions, centerline and centerline sequence (derived from Esri’s roads and highways work.) Alrp can be implemented against pretty well any extant event-based system, you do not need the full data model. Alrp is scheduled for commercial release in 2016.

Alrp’s role as a data integration tool stems from the fact that it is not a closed data model. The linear reference paradigm means that it can be used to tie different systems together with a pointer to say, asset data in SAP, or equipment tags in a Scada system.

Alrp is seen as a game changer as it ‘moves our core stuff to where it belongs – inside the geodatabase.’ The solution will preserve a company’s investment in centerline data and help with the migration to a true GIS-based risk management system.

With regard to the relationship with Pods, an Esri-backed work group is to combine the Alrp core and wrap a Pods business case around it to create an ‘Alrp version of Pods.’ The idea is to keep the GIS core standardized and get closer to the holy grail of interoperability (we take this to mean intra-Esri interoperability).

The Alrp will likely be perceived as something of a threat to existing pipeline software vendors. Esri’s position is that no single vendor solution covers all bases and that the adoption of Alrp will make internal development easier or avoidable - there will be less heavy lifting. Veenstra concluded that Alrp will help operators and vendors focus on high value-ad and on governance, where, ‘In some ways we are still where we were 20 years ago.’ One caveat though, when it is released by Esri, Alrp will probably come out under a different name.


Dhowal Dalal showed the results of a two year long collaboration between Exprodat and Esri on the development of a common operating picture (COP) for oil spill response. The work was commissioned by Iogp and Ipieca in the aftermath of the Macondo incident as ‘work package N° 5.’ Crisis response teams can be inundated with huge data volumes. The COP provides a source of information during cleanup operations that is accessible from any device.

The COP provides a bundle of apps covering incident map, situation map, spill trajectory, public map and operations. The system includes weather data and ship tracks from AIS feeds to figure a spill’s trajectory and calculate evacuation paths. Data can be provided for shoreline cleanup and assessment. The ArcGIS StoryMap is used to summarize the sequence of events. Download the EU PUG presentations from the Esri website.

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