New Century and Integrity Plus Blog

Utilizing GIS in the Pipeline Industry

Posted by Jennifer on Jul 16, 2014 8:50:10 AM

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Wow. We’re out at the #EsriUC this week and all we can say is, WOW! There is a lot happening in the world of GIS! And, while we eat, sleep, and breathe GIS for pipelines every day, we realize a few of you may not know how you can leverage GIS in the oil and gas industry. So, let’s start at the beginning …

What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System: is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.

How can you use it?

The term ‘GIS’ is a bona fide buzzword, but it is so much more than catchy lingo to toss around the office. By utilizing GIS, companies can save time and money when making decisions to construct, repair, remove or relocate pipelines and facilities.

Sounds pretty good, huh? You may be thinking, "how exactly GIS can do this?" So, we’ve identified two primary areas in which GIS can be used in the office or out in the field:

  1. Planning and Assessment: Determining whether a prospective area will produce a significant amount of oil, natural gas, petroleum, etc. This includes:
  • Data Management: Organizing, maintaining and analyzing collected data and records.
  • Geological and Environmental Studies and Surveys: Studying and assessing the prospective areas for patterns, anomalies and surface structures to avoid high consequence areas and follow DOT regulations.
  • Profile Maps: Survey, analyze and record the prospective areas cross section of the lands surface and elevation.


  1. Production and Distribution: Creating solutions for transporting the crude energy from the drilling area to gathering facilities; planning where to place new pipelines or facilities; knowing where old pipelines or facilities already exist; monitoring the pipelines or facilities for maintenance. This includes:
  • Pipeline Monitoring and Integrity: Monitoring pipelines and the surrounding land for anything that would cause leaks, spills and corrosion, including when the pipeline is in need of maintenance.
  • Incident Management: Identifying, analyzing, and deriving solutions for hazards to take care of current and prevent future occurrences.
  • Pipeline Routing: Identifying, measuring and analyzing terrain features, property boundaries, crossings and class location data for a route of least resistance.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Monitoring how a pipelines presence is affecting the surrounding environment and vice versa. This will help detect risk, as well as, when and where maintenance might be needed.
  • Right of Way Management: Surveying the prospective area and collecting data such as crossings and encroachments to help plan and manage the route of a pipeline. This will help detect risk, as well as, when and where maintenance might be needed.
  • Facility and Pipeline Construction: Survey prospective areas and analyze reports to construct facilities and pipelines in areas that have low risk and follow DOT regulations.
  • Data and Reports Management: Organizing, maintaining and analyzing collected data, records and generated reports.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Determining risk, monitoring integrity, planning and analyzing emergency responses and managing public awareness to follow DOT regulations.

That sounds great, but where does New Century Software come in?

The good news for our clients is that New Century Software has developed several GIS-driven applications to assist in making the above processes easier to manage while increasing efficiency. From creating and viewing alignment sheets to running HCA analyses to measuring risk and assessing spill impacts, we offer GIS software solutions to support your pipeline needs.

Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on how your company can improve by applying these GIS practices. We’re going to get back to the conference floor to find out what’s next in GIS to understand how we can continue to disrupt the pipeline industry with awesome GIS innovation. Check back soon for our thoughts on the #EsriUC!

Topics: Pipeline Operator, PUG, Pipeline, Esri, GIS

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