The Minnesota Utilities Mapping Project (UMP), a collaboration between Gopher State One Call (GSOC) and the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC), was formed in August 2020. The UMP works to increase locate efficiencies and accuracy, reduce damage to the state’s underground infrastructure, and improve operational and construction safety. This is achieved by leveraging current and emerging GIS technologies through cross-community collaboration to develop best practices and promote technology solutions.
In the fall issue of dp-PRO (now Excavation Safety Magazine), we reported that Gopher State One Call (GSOC) was creating a state-wide pilot program to introduce several leading GIS utility locating technologies to communities across Minnesota. The introduction of these technologies helps communities more accurately map utilities in a timely manner, creating a blueprint for others to follow in the future.
GSOC worked directly with equipment dealers to connect the pilot program with state-of -the- art technology. The concept of the pilot program was simple: a dozen Minnesota cities were given the opportunity to trial a cutting-edge GPS utility locating system to see if and how it transformed their locating process.
For the pilot program to be practically scalable across the state, the new technology must be seamlessly integrated into existing systems, save time, and produce accurate utility maps. The results of the pilot program were outstanding! Communities across Minnesota began using new, cutting-edge GPS locating technology to improve accuracy and efficiency.
Nearly all of the pilot program communities touted the ease-of-use of the technology, and many highlighted the potential time savings. The response was promising, indicating that other communities could be introduced to, and capitalize on, these new locating technologies.
“I like how our maps rolled over with all the data (previously) collected. That saved a lot of time,” said Pete Wyffels, Operational Superintendent of Glencoe MN Light and Power. “It is handy to be able to drop down to street view and actually be able to view lines from there when mapping. It saves a lot of driving back out in the field.”
“This is probably the easiest, cleanest, and cheapest solution I’ve seen so far,” added Brandon Fitzpatrick, GIS Tech for Hutchinson MN Utilities. “I don’t know of anything else that connects everything (GIS, Online Maps, Locator) like this.”
Chaired by Barbara Cederberg, COO of Gopher State One Call, and Steve Swazee, Chair of EPC,
the UMP in October of 2022, completed a prototype of a software platform called FuzionView that provides real-time viewing of underground utilities to accredited design engineers, locators and excavators based on the excavation area described in a Gopher State One Call ticket only during the active life of a ticket.
The next phase of the UMP is underway with the goal to develop the prototype FuzionView software into an open-source, robust system. FuzionView is being developed as an open source software system in order that any One Call center could efficiently add this capability into their offerings. Funding has been obtained for the first half of this development effort. Funding to complete the project is being solicited.
Next steps for the program include improving map visualizations, developing capability to capture information and GPS data in the field, sending updated GPS information to facility operators, and adding more production level capabilities.
In recognition of the innovative nature of this endeavor, Common Ground Alliance (CGA) awarded this project a Groundbreaker Award at the CGA 2023 Annual Conference. CGA also published a case study which can be found at: https://commongroundalliance.com/Publications-Media/Case-Studies/NP-GSOC-Case-Study
Those interested in learning more or working with UMP should contact Barbara Cederberg at Barbara. email@example.com