1Spatial and Esri UK have been selected as key partners in delivering the first Utility Network migration in the UK.
Northern Gas Networks (NGN) supplies gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across the North of England. NGN is leading this transformational digitalisation project that began in January 2021 and is expected to take 12 months.
Data is increasingly one of the most valuable assets within a utility. ArcGIS Utility Network puts data at the heart the organisation and maintains it with integrity. This next generation technology requires a change in the underlying data model from the current geometric model to the Utility Network model. This model allows utilities to create true digital twins of their network and meet the challenges of a modern utility. It’s a breakthrough in network modelling, information security and scalability.
“Esri UK is excited to be working with NGN and 1Spatial to deliver a next generation geospatial platform, which will form the foundation for a digital twin of NGN’s gas distribution network. This will be the first of its kind in the UK, and will provide NGN with a highly accurate geospatial network to enable enhanced future planning and decision making”, said Craig Hayes, Head of Critical National Infrastructure for Esri UK. “By working in partnership, we will be able to bring the best of Esri’s geospatial platform together with 1Spatial’s world leading geospatial data cleansing and management expertise.”
As the first utility organisation in the UK to embark on this transformational journey, NGN will benefit from the ability to view, analyse and edit their digital twin with high fidelity and allow them to maintain the integrity of the network. Features such as connectivity and tracing will be delivered out of the box, as well as a multitude of functionality that has previously proved challenging for utilities. Given the huge benefits provided, Esri Inc has committed to long-term development and support for the ArcGIS Utility Network.
Commenting on the collaboration, 1Spatial CEO, Claire Milverton, said: “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Northern Gas Networks and to collaborate with Esri UK to deliver the UK’s first Utility Network Migration project utilising ArcGIS and 1Integrate. The contract highlights the potential expansion opportunities in the utilities sector and exemplifies the breadth and depth of 1Spatial’s capabilities as a leader in data management and migrations.”
The 1Spatial and Esri UK team are excited to collaborate with NGN to enhance the quality and completeness of NGN’s data and extend their spatial capability; allowing the organisation to unlock the enormous benefits of next generation technologies. We believe this will help NGN in the next stage of its journey to become a data driven organisation and help to achieve the goals set out in its RIIO-2 Business Plan and accompanying Digitalisation Strategy. As the first in the UK to embark on a full Utility Network Migration, NGN are staying true to the ethos in their Digitalisation Strategy:
‘Digitisation is an opportunity to approach things differently, to redesign processes, to disrupt traditional ways of working and conventional ways of thinking. Digitisation is an opportunity to do better things.’
The project includes delivering a Utility Network design and architecture, conducting a comprehensive data quality audit and data cleanse and enhancement to ensure the data is fit for the new model. The project will be delivered in distinct phases, with an innovative synchronisation mechanism allowing NGN to ‘Go Live’ with each business application only when the business is ready. The iterative migration will include the configuration and refactoring of NGN’s existing business applications to be compatible with the new data model.
This project will demand high levels of collaboration between NGN, 1Spatial and Esri UK. As such, the team will be following Agile delivery practices and completing a thorough service transition. This approach will empower NGN to meet their objective of taking control of their GIS estate and enable them to leverage the value of their asset data without over-reliance on third-party vendors.
Matthew Little, Director of Innovation, Improvement and Information (3iG) at Northern Gas Networks: “At NGN we’re working hard to harness the power of digitalisation to make better use of our data and operate even more efficiently, which allows us to pass on the wider benefits to our customers.
“As well as helping to run our network, projects like this play a vital role in modernising our data and ultimately in preparing us for the transition to a Net Zero economy.”