Today’s Geospatial Solutions Help the Oil and Gas Industry Manage Infrastructure in Remote Environments

Published on November 20, 2013

The oil and gas sector makes significant investments in expanding and managing assets, often in particularly remote locations. With these highly complex systems, the accountability levels for effectively managing these assets can be extremely high – especially when the costs of mismanaging the infrastructure are so significant.

For example, for pipeline expansion efforts, these companies need to build in areas that are only accessible by remote repair crews. These regions lack connectivity, yet require workers to manage and document efforts in ways that are accurate, effective and timely. Additionally, analysis of oil exploration activities requires aggregation of many different types of data that are viewable in disparate systems. These systems do not easily interact with one another, which results in significant investment of man hours and introduces human error as data is pulled together manually to identify which areas provide the highest return on investment.

Thankfully, there are new geospatial solutions that allow field agents to access and use customizable mobile apps for tracking and managing assets, as well as reporting issues and repairs completed to the corporate enterprise. Some of these are quite mature at their core due to their implementation in cross-over market verticals where common denominator requirements have been addressed (i.e., geospatial data visualization of disparate data, mobile application enterprise features, and solution development around remote environments with little to no network access).

For example, Thermopylae’s Ubiquity solution, an extensible, web-based platform for creating geo-centric mobile apps, allows oil and gas companies to receive immediate updates from the field. Whether the remote workers are providing status updates or sending critical alerts, key decision-makers within the organization can access the right real-time data. Using a commercially available device like a Google Android-powered phone and functioning without connectivity only furthers the practicality of a platform like this example.

These updates could include imagery and other data, which can be captured in the field and automatically uploaded once the workers are back in a connected environment with cellular or WiFi access. For major utility companies, these updates can include information about encroaching vegetation growth, images of downed power lines, pipeline damage, repair status and the like.

With many oil and gas providers, as well as utilities, relying on major field assets for maintaining operational effectiveness, the stakes are very high. Down time, leakage, and other operationally-sapping issues have direct financial impact, among other problems. As such, it is vital to use the right geospatially enabled mobile apps that allow key decision-makers to access accurate field data for real-time decision-making.

In addition, when assets exist in highly remote locations, the likelihood of unforeseen issues and challenges arise on a daily basis. Having a 360-degree perspective on all field assets at all times is paramount. Fortunately, today’s mobile geospatial solutions allow you to do precisely this and much more.

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