GIS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN NEEDS ASSESMENT for Prepared by Michelle L Anderson GIS Coordinator Beltrami Electric Cooperative

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GIS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN NEEDS ASSESMENT for Prepared by Michelle L Anderson GIS Coordinator Beltrami Electric Cooperative Powered By Docstoc


                Prepared by
   Michelle L. Anderson, GIS Coordinator
     Beltrami Electric Cooperative, Inc.

             September 2003
This implementation plan has been prepared as a guideline for Beltrami Electric
Cooperative’s (BEC) GIS efforts. It describes processes that will be used to develop a
GIS for BEC and departmental needs for a GIS.

Beltrami Electric Cooperative reserves the right to modify this plan.
                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS

Mission Statement, Guiding Principles .........................................                       2
History ..........................................................................................    3
GIS Vision & Mission Statement, Purpose, Assumptions .............                                    4
Definition of GIS, GIS Goals and Objectives ................................                          5
Needs Assesment ........................................................................              6
Administrative Structure ...............................................................             10
Operational GIS Management Issues ...........................................                        10
Training ........................................................................................    11
GIS Policies and Procedures ........................................................                 12
GIS Implementation Timeline .......................................................                  13


     Beltrami Electric Cooperative exists to serve the changing needs of our
     customers by improving their quality of life while offering the lowest possible
     electrical rates with the highest quality service.


        Reliable electric service and outstanding customer service are a critical part
         of the competitive future, which cannot be ignored or sacrificed. Common
         sense must always prevail. The foundation of both must be special effort and
         respect. We must search for ways to make working with, and within BEC
         easy and efficient.

        The bottom line for evaluating distribution costs is cents/kilowatt hour, and/or
         dollars/meter. That is the yardstick that will be used by those we serve, and
         that is how we too must measure ourselves.

        BEC’s challenge for the foreseeable future will be to maintain comparable
         distribution costs with other systems our size. Given the high plant
         investment that will be required to serve our future growth, we must make
         every effort to be among those systems with the lowest operating expenses.

        Whereas cost avoidance is key to meeting our goal, so is the volume of kWh
         sales. We need to identify those market opportunities with the greatest
         potential, focus our time and efforts accordingly, and have the active support
         of all employees.

        While each of BEC’s electric rates needs to be competitive, we need to be
         very aware of market conditions, and make special effort to guard against the
         loss of those loads which would most adversely impact the remaining
         members rates.

        BEC will strive to maintain a productive workforce. An organization structure
         which truly empowers all employees to do their jobs, and an active,
         innovative, process improvement program, aimed at reducing costs,
         streamlining, or eliminating work will be critical.

        BEC must take a leadership position in aggressively seeking, and then
         developing, cost effective, win-win partnerships. We must pool our resources
         wherever feasible.


    Beltrami Electric Cooperative, which was organized in 1940, is the power
    supplier to over 17,000 customers in 6 counties in Minnesota. BEC has almost
    3,100 miles of distribution line of which about 60% are underground lines.

    Electric power for our members is currently purchased from Minnkota Power
    Cooperative (MPC). MPC is a wholesale power supplier located in Grand Forks,
    North Dakota that serves 11 distribution electric cooperatives in Minnesota and
    North Dakota.

    Electricity is sold to our consumer/members at what it costs us to buy power from
    MPC plus the cost to distribute it, plus a margin. As a non-profit organization,
    any margins (profits) are allocated to the membership and paid in cash over time
    when BEC’s financial conditions permit.

    The cooperative principles include:

             Non-profit
             One member/one vote
             Locally owned by those we serve
             Governed by a member elected board


     A future where GIS technology allows all electrical spatial data to be fully
     integrated and widely used by BEC employees and customers.


     To support, coordinate and promote the development of GIS technology to best
     serve the business needs of BEC.

     To provide a geospatial foundation for the implementation of support systems to
     improve operational efficiencies in the areas of facility design, outage
     management, work order tracking and facility inspections and maintenance.


     The GIS planning process will result in a plan to fully integrate GIS technology
     into the detailed operations of BEC. The plan will address management,
     resources, organization and communication issues, along with:

            Creating a framework that will allow for company-wide access to various
             databases and maps in a timely manner for decision making;
            Creating an organizational structure, procedures and standards to assure
             that geographic data can be shared easily and quickly;
            Ensuring the integrity and consistency of data within the company;
            Assigning data management;
            Clarifying maintenance responsibilities;
            Establishing policy governing external access to BEC data and
            Coordinating the capabilities of current technology with ongoing
             development of GIS technology within BEC; and
            Outlining the development and use of BEC’s GIS.


        The GIS will be managed as a company asset, not a department asset.
        Data is a resource of the company and the use of data is a strategic issue.
        Most data is geocoded, containing location numbers or other locational
        Demand for company data is growing from both within and outside the
        The primary purpose of GIS technology is to manage and analyze geographic
         information, not solely to produce maps.


     A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a combination of computer hardware,
     software, data and procedures designed to support the development, storage,
     displaying and analyzing of geographic data and maps.

     A GIS provides a means to consolidate information of two basic types – spatial
     and attribute data.

     Spatial Data: Spatial data is the graphical portrayal of the basic physical
     characteristics of a place. Traditionally spatial data have been stored as paper
     maps. In a GIS, maps are converted into digital data that can be displayed using
     GIS software. GIS systems can also reproduce the data as paper maps.

     Attribute Data: Attributes are characteristics of geographic features (e.g. roads,
     power lines, meters, etc.). For example, the attributes of a power line might
     include phase, length, age of cable, year cable was installed, size, etc.


     In order to fulfill our mission statement and guiding principles, BEC strives to
     implement technology that improves upon current activities. GIS will provide
     many improvements and benefits to BEC.

     The main GIS goals and objectives include:

           Providing a more efficient way of retrieving information to aid in customer
            service and data sharing.
           Providing a more efficient way of analyzing alternatives and various
            situations for decision making.
           Reducing data redundancy.
           Reducing the need and cost of third-party processing.
           Improving data management.
           Improving service delivery and quality.
           Improving administration coordination.
           Increasing productivity.
           Improving data entry standards.
           Providing a foundation for the implementation of support systems to
            improve operational efficiencies.
           Developing a system that can be used as a shared resource for
            geographic and spatial information by all departments along with private
            and public sectors.


    A major part in the GIS implementation process is to determine the need of a GIS
    throughout the organization. To accomplish this, interviews were conducted with
    departments expected to use or be affected by the GIS. These interviews were
    conducted during April 2003.

    Using the information gathered, the following summaries have been compiled for
    the Needs Assesment.


    Within BEC, all departments operate with the same customer base and
    geographic domain. This has led to the recognition that making quality
    geographic data available for sharing and manipulation can be a key factor in
    improving the effectiveness of day-to-day operations and long term decision

    BEC has laid significant groundwork for establishing a successful GIS program,
    which include:

          A working computer network connecting departments and capable of
           supporting GIS applications.
          An AutoCad map consisting of all lines, transformers, meters, circuits,
           feeders, substations, poles, regulators, reclosers, sectionalizers, risers,
           pedestals, fuses, fuse boxes, line sections, location numbers, lakes,
           rivers, roads, railroad lines and some plats.
          A GIS Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan.
          Employees who are accustomed to using maps and computers on a
           regular basis.
          Over 60,000 meters, transformers, poles, circuits, regulators, reclosers,
           sectionalizers, pedestals, fuses and fuse boxes having a unique location
           number and/or a BEC number.

    GIS will first be implemented using a pilot project area which will include the
    Puposky Substation area. This will provide any and all departments interested,
    the opportunity to test various activities of the GIS.

    At this stage, accuracy of infrastructure location is not of highest priority.
    Relative placement to the correct side of roads and various other landmarks is
    adequate. In the future, when it is possible to integrate the map with a good land
    base map from outside sources, such as county parcel maps, accuracy will be
    easier to obtain. However, when deemed necessary, using a GPS to assign a
    coordinate to poles, transformers, meters, etc. will be the best way to generate a
    highly accurate map.

The NAD 1983 State Plane – Minnesota, North coordinate system will be used.
This allows for easy integration with various outside mapping sources and is
capable of providing a good accuracy base when dealing with a large service

GIS needs of the departments interviewed range from GIS being a key
component for meeting core departmental requirements, to GIS being a useful
tool to streamline some departmental activities.


Engineering will be the main GIS user. This is also the department in which the
GIS will be created, implemented and maintained.

GIS will provide Engineering with a good analyzing tool to help plan for future
projects, such as determining the best location for a new substation.

Automated staking software can be integrated to enhance the capabilities of
staking new services, service upgrades and map updating.

Another benefit is the ability to set up and print our own maps and map books in
an efficient manner, thus reducing the need of third party processing.

Customer, equipment and turtle data will all be linked to our map through GIS
capabilities which will allow Engineering to complete various activities.

Other GIS activities are as follows:

             Produce various maps, tables and other information for the bi-
              annual work plan.
             Integrate easement information in order to provide a faster method
              of researching customers’ easements. This could reduce liability in
              certain instances.
             Use a GPS to gather more accurate locations of our services in
              order to produce more accurate maps and easements.
             Attach right-of-way information to aid in laying out projects where it
              is necessary to know right-of-way width.
             Use Census data to aid in determining demographics for planning
             Incorporate other utility data such as Charter, Paul Bunyan
              Telephone, Qwest, OtterTail Power, Lakehead Pipeline, etc. as
              they become available.
             Produce maps showing outage locations and Osmose pole testing
              results for line and pole maintenance.


GIS will be an asset to Operations as it is a stepping stone for implementing
Outage Management and Staking programs. An Outage Management program
can assist Operations personnel in dispatching crews to outages, aid in
determining the source of an outage and documenting outage information.

A Staking Sheet program will assist Operations in providing a completed material
breakdown, therefore, significantly reducing the amount of time spent manually
breaking down staking sheets.

It is foreseeable other activities within Operations will integrate with the GIS once
it is implemented. The Line Crew could use laptops with GIS software to view
our service area and to access data regarding devices and accounts.


Information Systems plays a vital role in many aspects of the GIS process,
however, the demand for GIS use will be minimal. Various needs from this
department are listed in the Administrative Structure portion of the
Implementation Plan.

The following is a list of current Information System components:

    Fifty-two workstations, most consisting of Windows 2000 Professional,
     some with Windows 98SE. All workstations have Microsoft Office
     Professional for email clients and word processing/spreadsheet capability.
     Other installed software includes terminal emulators for accessing UNIX
     databases and/or AS400 databases.
    TCP/IP based network with a Windows 2000 Domain Controller with
     Active Directory for user authentication. A 3Com switch stack controls the
     network in coordination with a Firewall router for tightening security.
    Sixty-three email recipients, which consists of 44 internal email addresses,
     several board member addresses, and several email pager accounts.
    Six lap-top computers.
    Two computer screen projectors.
    Seven remote employee computers for remote work from home.
    Five main-frames/servers including: AS400, IBM Pseries RISC server,
     One Windows 2000 Professional Domain Controller with Microsoft
     Exchange and Symantec Anti-Virus, Windows 2000 File Server/Backup
     Server, and a Windows 2000 IIS5.0 Webserver, One PC-Anywhere
     Windows98 server, One Summit Indoor Environment server, Two Suse
     Linux Servers for live monitoring of system wide statistics.
    One token ring-Ethernet adapter and TR switch
    One fiber optic extension repeater for long distance internal transmissions.


      Progress Database for Electric database
      Several Microsoft Access databases for various applications.
      ESRI ArcGIS
      Lotus spreadsheets for accounting and financial forecasting.


      Twenty-one network printers with valid TCP/IP addresses.
      Twenty-two locally attached printers.
      Large format color plotter


      Seagate tape drives for daily backup and archive.
      One networked scanner.
      Three industrial photo-copiers.
      One Kalatel DVR with multiplexer.


Consumer Accounts generates a substantial amount of customer data pertaining
to meters which coincides with billing functions. Therefore, current need for GIS
applications is very minimal. Data created by this department can be integrated
at any time if deemed necessary.


Some benefits of using GIS from within the Accounting department will be outage
tracking and material breakdown information, which can be done with the Outage
Management and a Staking Sheet programs.

At this time, most applications are successfully handled through the NISC
Horizon software.


GIS use will be minimal, but load management information can be linked to the
map allowing for various ways to view and analyze data. This department uses
Census Data on occasion and the GIS could aid in pulling out information.


    At some point, each Customer Service Representative should have access to the
    GIS. This will allow each CSR to pull up customer information and be able to
    view it on our map.


    The following is a list of some responsibilities certain positions will need to fulfill
    at various times in order to realize the benefits of the GIS. These positions are
    key players in the implementation and ongoing progress of the GIS. Other
    departments will be involved as needed, but will mainly be GIS end-users.

          Manager of Engineering
             o Recommend purchases and other cost issues related to GIS to the
                General Manager and Board of Directors.
             o Provide overall direction.
             o Ensure cooperation and participation from all departments and
                external stakeholders involved in GIS.

          Engineering Technician
             o Define requirements needed to implement the GIS.
             o Determine hardware, software and data needs to implement the
             o Implement GIS applications.

          Manager of Office Services and Information Systems Technician
             o Assist with computer related issues such as hardware upgrades,
                troubleshooting, network issues, etc.
             o Assist with downloads of data from the AS400 and other



    Once the GIS is implemented and becomes operational, there are certain
    ongoing expenses that should be planned and budgeted for.

    Software Maintenance: Most GIS software packages have a software
    maintenance fee. In general, the maintenance fees entitle the licensee to
    technical support and software upgrades.

    Supplies: The most important supplies include paper and ink cartridges for the

    Technology Upgrades: GIS is a high-end computer application that benefits
    from the most modern technology. Computer technology tends to evolve rapidly,
    therefore periodic computer upgrades should be budgeted in order to ensure our
    GIS performs to its highest capability. More powerful equipment means that
    basic GIS functions will be completed more efficiently thus saving staff time.

    Data Resources: Various data resources exist, such as Digital Orthophoto
    Quadrangles (DOQ) and Digital Raster Graphs (DRG) that will enhance the
    functionality of the GIS. While some of these resources are free, others are
    available at a nominal cost. Integrating parcel data acquired from counties our
    service area are located in will add great functionality to the GIS.

    Seminars/Training: The MN GIS/LIS Conference held every October is an
    excellent resource for networking with other GIS personnel and to learn about
    new products. Throughout the year, there are several ways – internet or
    classroom – to learn more about various software applications.


    The following describes the types of training that will be required for staff who will
    be accessing the GIS. Depending on the user’s need and the rate of
    implementation, an individual user might take one or all of the courses described

    Basic End User Course: Most of BEC’s GIS users will not need to interact with
    the actual end-user GIS software. Rather, they will use GIS software that allows
    them to view, query and print data but not edit any data set up in a GIS format.

    Suitable training for this software could be achieved in a ½ day course, in-house,
    using actual BEC GIS data sets and applications. There may be different
    courses for each group of users (i.e. Customer Service, Operations, etc.) as each
    department’s needs vary.

    Advanced End User Course: The advanced course would involve at least a 1-
    2 day session providing in-depth instruction on the use of the software used to
    create the GIS. There is a possibility more training could be involved in order to
    understand the full scope of the capabilities of the software. This training might
    be more beneficial to send personnel to a course provided by the software
    manufacturer or a third party consultant.



    Implementing a GIS requires a significant amount of time. The process creates a
    valuable resource that can be distributed to other entities. A procedure for
    fulfilling any outside requests will be established in order to keep track of where
    our data is being used.

          Prices for Distributing Data to Outside Organizations

          Prices for maps that are already set up and easy to retrieve shall be
          comprised of paper, ink and labor costs. A map request form will
          be created containing the various types of maps available with
          corresponding price information.

          Customized maps will be billed at a rate to be determined.

          Legal Issues

          A Disclaimer/Single Use Agreement will be created for use when BEC
          releases data to an outside organization. This document will identify the
          authorized user of the data and outline the intended and acceptable uses
          of the data. The document will also restrict redistribution of that data.


    As the GIS becomes operational, it is important to recognize the digital GIS data
    layers will need to be updated on a regular basis to keep the data current. A key
    benefit of a GIS is its ability to increase the efficiency and quality of data
    updating. Data standards will need to be set in order to maintain consistent
    data. By using data standards, uniform data will require minimal clean-up and
    aid in the functionality of the GIS.

          Backup schedule

          All maps and data contained on the GIS computer will be backed up
          nightly through the network.


          Metadata is data about data. Documenting metadata as data, map layers,
          etc. are developed provides necessary information on how the data was
          created, who created it, how to use the data and other important
          information. Metadata will be created for all data used in the GIS.


     OCTOBER 2002
         Researched GIS software
            o System costs
            o Support services
            o Quality controls
            o Compatibility with current data/software

     NOVEMBER 2002
         Continued research
         Began constructing Implementation Plan

     DECEMBER 2002
         Continued Implementation Plan
         Ordered software

     JANUARY 2003
         Determined pilot project area - Puposky Substation
         Software was installed on January 15
         Began reading through software material
         Began cleaning up Puposky Substation area

     FEBRUARY 2003
         Presentation on GIS (Eng. & Operations Mtg. 2/6)
         Continued working with pilot project area
         Determined maps needed from other sources
             o DOQs - yes
             o DNR hydrology layer - Shelly
             o DRGs – not a necessity
             o Beltrami County’s parcel, ROW, street name layers – received the
                street names, wait until County is done with new parcel mapping, in
                meantime, requested old parcel/plat data

     MARCH 2003
         Began developing layering scheme
         Took ESRI Virtual Training Courses – 3/6/03 to 4/2/03
         Continued working with pilot project area

     APRIL 2003
          Continued working with pilot project area
          Continued developing layering scheme
          Systematic review of users/data
              o Met with departments
                     Learned departmental activities

                Determined flow of current department activities
      Developed Needs Assessment
         o Applications to be developed in GIS
                Evaluated responsibilities/work flow of departments
                Identified applications that will be integrated into the GIS
         o Listed current inventory of hardware and software
         o Considered accuracy, scale, projections and coordinate system

MAY 2003
    Downloaded data from DNR website
        o Better accuracy
    Researched Data Models
    Acquired Data Model
    Continued working with pilot project area

JUNE 2003
    Implemented Data Model
    Integrated DNR data into Geodatabase
    Began converting CAD data
    Entered metadata

JULY 2003
     Finished digitizing pilot project area

    Finished assigning full location number to all devices
    Completed Implementation Plan
    Completed Needs Assessment

    Continued digitizing other areas of system
    Converted AS400 extract to Access databases
       o Attached database to pilot project

    Continued digitizing other areas of system

    Updated AutoCad map with 2003 Staking Sheets for map book generation

MARCH 2004
    Moved to office
    Proofed map book
    Updated Easements

APRIL 2004
     Distributed map books
     Updated converted area with 2003 Staking Sheets
     Created shapefiles from AutoCAD map to be used in Stakeout

    Continued digitizing other areas of system

     Corrected errors on map, location numbers, etc.
     Added missing services, devices, etc.
     Finished initial conversion process

    Miscellaneous projects
    Exported all 2004 staking sheets
    Upgraded to ArcGIS 9.0

APRIL 2005
     Installed ArcPublisher
     Trained CSRs on ArcReader
     Moved matching devices to Osmose GPS points
     Received Parcels from Hubbard & Cass Counties

MAY 2005
    Installed ArcPublisher
    Trained other office personnel on ArcReader
    Finished matching devices to Osmose GPS points
    Distributed 2005 map books
    Began bringing in 2004 staking sheets

JUNE 2005
    Trained other office personnel on ArcReader
    Converted 2004 staking sheets
    Received Parcels from Beltrami County

JULY 2005
     Trained other office personnel on ArcReader
     Continued to convert 2004 staking sheets

    Finished miscellaneous projects
    Continued to convert 2004 staking sheets

          Continued to convert 2004 staking sheets

      NOVEMBER 2005
          Converted 2005 staking sheets
          Tested GPS Units

      DECEMBER 2005 – FEBRUARY 2006
          Finished integrating 2005 staking sheets
          Began using GPS units
          Finished miscellaneous projects

      MARCH 2006
          Began bringing in GPS points

*This timeline is to be used as a guide. Revisions and updates will be made as needed.

          Develop database needs for pilot project area
              o Create standards for databases
              o Determine unique identifier to be used (Location Number)
          Attach data from NISC
          Attach AS400 data
          Implement pilot project
          Test pilot project
              o Perform various analysis and query functions
          Determine errors
          Correct errors
          Develop maintenance procedures
              o Updating hardware/software
              o Adding/maintaining data
              o Keeping users updated/trained
          Develop training procedures
              o Who will be trained
              o How will they be trained (in house/classes)
              o When will they be trained
          Presentation on Implementation Plan, Needs Assessment and pilot project
          Train GIS users
              o Develop guidelines/cheat sheets


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