Digital clean-up of maps improves safety

Eidsiva Nett has performed a digital cleanup of 84,000 electricity pylons and raised the quality of its maps to centimetre level. This could help save lives.

The job that Eidsiva has done has aroused attention and recognition at the Norwegian Mapping Authority. 

“We are very impressed with the job Eidsiva has done. They have got stuck into the job and put in a lot of resources. Getting other power companies to prioritise this is a challenge. Eidsiva is unique in this,” says county mapping manager in Hamar, Håkon Dåsnes.

The mapping manager explains that this job is particularly important in relation to obstacles to aviation.

County mapping manager in Hamar, Håkon Dåsnes (left) is very impressed with the digital cleanup that Eidsiva Nett has done. Here together with the quality manager of Eidsiva Nett, Jan Brede Knutsen. 

“The air ambulance must get its job done and it is important to know where the overhead power lines between pylons are, so they can avoid hitting them. They must be able to trust the maps they use. That is incredibly important," says Dåsnes.

In the course of the last few years, Eidsiva Nett AS has performed a major digital cleanup in the documentation of its pylon positions and has so far moved as many as 84,000 of them. This is to ensure that the digital locations on the map are the same as the physical locations. 

“A lot of the documentation came from hand-drawn maps, which have been digitalised. This has led to many inaccuracies. Some pylons were placed 30 metres out, other pylons that were recorded on the map did not actually exist. We have actually deleted 10,000 pylons," says quality manager of Eidsiva Nett, Jan Brede Knutsen.

Automated the job with specially developed computer software

A great deal of the cleanup job has been carried out using a specially developed programme in the Powel software NETBAS. The script has made it possible to automate large parts of the cleanup job. Many GIS analyses have also been used in ArcGIS Pro. To measure and view progress, they have developed dashboards based on Operation Dashboard for ArcGIS.

“Running the script corrected errors with an accuracy of 31 centimetres and improved the efficiency of our cleanup job by 90 percent. The development job itself was demanding, but now we can reuse the code in other projects we want to implement,” says the quality manager. 

Eidsiva is locating an old cable, which no one knew was there before. This is a good example of how important it is to have reliable documentation. Excavating around live cables can lead to fatal results. 

Powel is proud and happy to have a customer like Eidsiva Nett, which is so dedicated in terms of both quality and innovation.

“Eidsiva has done a unique job in a Norwegian context and developing this programme has been an exciting job for us. Now it is possible for other grid companies to follow, because the job must be done by everyone,” says Richard Schytte, sales director at Powel, who adds: 

“Eidsiva Nett is also very good at combining the functionality of NETBAS with other tools from Esri that they have access to via Powel. In this way, they get the most out of the tools they use,” he says.

The cleanup job has not been carried out only on the pylons above ground, but also on cables under the ground. This is particularly important in the context of large building and construction projects.

“We recently had a meeting with Nye Veier. They are struggling with poor map data and have been looking for higher quality,” says county mapping manager, Dåsnes.

Saving money on maintenance

For Eidsiva Nett, this job has a further upside beyond the obvious social benefit of improving the accuracy of the maps. Surveying new and existing power grids is more accurate. There is also money to be saved when it comes to maintenance. 

"We also ran a quality assurance to find out if Eidsiva is the real owner of the pylons we have in our documentation, and we updated with information on which other stakeholders have infrastructure on our pylons. This may be organisations involved with road lighting, Ecom and telecom. It is important to know who is responsible, not least financially, if anything should happen,” says Knutsen of Eidsiva.

Knutsen has worked at Eidsiva all his life and has been involved in the entire process from paper to complex computer programmes. 

“Society’s demands in terms of 3D maps and accuracy are becoming steadily greater. Data quality and security is not a one-off job. It's become a lifestyle,” he smiles.