New Century and Integrity Plus Blog

Back to the Future: Reconciling Pipeline Data with ILI to Improve Data Quality

Posted by Lynette Lyddane & Sarah Spaulding on Feb 28, 2018 9:16:36 AM

In the classic film Back to the Future, Marty McFly accidentally goes back in time, returning to 1955 when his parents were teenagers. To get “back to the future”, his future, he must make sure that his parents meet and fall in love. Of course, there are hijinks along the way that threaten his very existence. With each misstep, he notices his siblings start to disappear from the family photograph he carries in his pocket, as he changes the course of history.

You may be asking, what does this have to do with pipelines and software? It may be a silly comparison, but we couldn’t help but see the correlation between Marty’s adventures and maintaining your pipe data. Bear with us here…

Aligning your pipeline database (such as PODS) and ILI data is so much more than just feature mapping; it is all about the process! And that process requires careful consideration to ensure you aren’t unintentionally changing the course of history for your pipeline. For example, if your ILI data reveals a missing Tap, no big deal…add it to PODS and your pipeline is back on track for the future! But what if you find mismatching Wall Thickness? Simply changing the value in your pipeline database without certainty threatens the integrity of your pipeline…enter the wrong value and your family members may just start disappearing from your proverbial photograph!

See what we’re on to here?


Before now, many pipeline operators have maintained complicated and time-consuming spreadsheets to combine and compare ILI data with data stored in a pipeline database. This has been frustrating for many because they can’t always find the data in the pipeline database that matches the ILI run, and the PODS data is often considered unreliable.

So, how do we make sure that Marty gets back to 1985 safely? Two words: Quality Control.

New Century has a suite of applications that provide the ability to integrate and analyze your data, enabling you to create workflows that improve the quality of data stored in a pipeline database.

Alignment Manager creates an Interchange database that can serve as a holding spot for aligned data. This means that you now have a pipe tally (pipe run that results from ILI data) with route and measures that can integrate with your pipeline database.

SheetCutter can be used to create quality sheets that can serve as a basis for redlining (sending the source to data experts so they can provide corrections and identify what is accurate). It tells you where you may have pipeline relocations or pipe changes that you need to research.

Express Loader can be used to load data that may have been missing or was never captured, such as bends or elbows.

Controlling the quality of your data using Alignment Manager to create a common data format allows you to go beyond the results of the pipe tally. Data can now be integrated for HCAs, pipe grade, class or safety factors, and other fields that are useful in pressure calculations of anomalies. Following this process assures that you can get “back to the future” by moving beyond spreadsheets and into integrated systems.

To learn more about integrating your data and improving the quality of your pipeline database, check out our webinars on Understanding ILI Feature Matching and Using Alignment Manager to Improve Data Quality.

Topics: ILI, Alignment Manager, Pipe Data, data quality

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