Project Summary

Project image thumnail
Project image thumnail

Utility GIS Data Automation

Needs assessment, analysis, design, development, testing, documentation and implementation of custom software

Project Problem

This project was initiated to enable the automated publishing of data to NIPSCO’s Web-based GIS, which would have been a daunting if not impossible task to perform through manual processes. Source data for the NIPSCO GIS had been created and maintained in several thousand tiled AutoCAD drawings. Additionally, NIPSCO desired functionality for geocoding customer locations.

Project Solution

The complete cycle of software development was exercised in this project, from needs assessment through analysis, design, development, testing, documentation and implementation. Great Arc created InfoBuilder to perform the publishing of all of NIPSCO’s CAD source data to Autodesk MapGuide Spatial Data Format (SDF) files for viewing via the Web-based GIS, as well as to ODBC compliant databases to use for querying and reporting purposes. This program acts as a service, with the data conversion occurring either on a user-defined schedule or in near real-time.

With InfoBuilder handling the updating of the Web-based GIS and the associated ODBC database to match the current state of the source CAD drawings, additional applications were needed to complete the full data creation and maintenance cycle.

Great Arc developed another application, FieldBrowser, to distribute source data information to field crews and allow them to redline changes. Another application, called DrawingManager, was developed to allow the updating of source CAD drawings from the field-generated redlines. Once the source CAD drawings are updated and saved, based on redlines, InfoBuilder takes over to automatically re-publish the data to FacilityBrowser, thus completing the cycle.

Great Arc has incorporated ESRI Shapefile creation capabilities into InfoBuilder to automate the continuous geocoding of customers as their status changes in the Customer Information Systems (CIS), as well as for use in the gas service locates being performed by Columbia Energy in Columbus, Ohio.

The geocoding process revolved around ArcObjects development. Tools to clean up the road data, as well as to enhance the geocoding engine, were developed using ArcObjects. ArcObjects allowed for the most flexibility and provided with the best results as compared to having developed with MapObjects.

The complete list of file formats that InfoBuilder supports is DWG to DWG, DWG to SDF, DWG to Drawing Exchange Format (DXF), Drawing Web Format (DWF), Shape file (SHP), and ODBC Compliant Databases (Access, SQL Server, Oracle, etc.).



  • Javascript
  • HTML
  • Visual Basic
  • ODBC
  • Cold Fusion
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Autodesk SDF Toolkit
  • AutoDesk VoloView Express
  • ESRI MapObjects