Dec 7, 2010

Okaloosa Gas District Implements Autodesk Utility Solutions Software for Improved Planning, Design, and Infrastructure Management

SAN RAFAEL, Calif - Autodesk, Inc has announced that Okaloosa Gas, a private utility serving over 37,000 customers in four counties in northern Florida, has implemented Autodesk software to help them better plan, design, build and manage their natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure. With more complete and accurate planning and design information now available across the utility, Okaloosa Gas can manage their gas distribution network more effectively.

“From the onset, we have been impressed with Autodesk as a business partner to us on all fronts—technology, sales, and consulting,“ said Deeter Smith, GIS Administrator, Okaloosa Gas District. “Autodesk’s strength in design technology and their understanding of our utility business processes were key factors in choosing them as a partner. Autodesk’s solution allowed us to improve the accuracy and availability of our planning, design and as-built asset information; share more accurate geospatial and customer information with the field; and more easily generate key reports for all of our departments.”

“Autodesk’s approach is to provide our utility customers with an open, standards-based solution so they can more easily and accurately plan, design and implement a complete model of their networks,” said Paul McRoberts, senior director, Infrastructure Modeling Product Line Group, AEC solutions division for Autodesk. “Autodesk believes that maintaining the accuracy and completeness of the asset data initially established in the planning and design process throughout the asset life cycle is critically important to the success of utilities like Okaloosa Gas, especially as they roll out new systems across departments and service areas.”

Complete Solution

Okaloosa Gas took a phased approach to improving the quality and availability of its natural gas transmission and distribution asset data. First, they transitioned from paper maps to AutoCAD-based digital maps—enabling them to improve data accuracy and quality. By using AutoCAD Map 3D software, Okaloosa was able to incorporate a broad variety of spatial data including utility, road, cadastral, topographic, environmental, and image data. With Autodesk MapGuide software providing more secure access, a broader set of users can access spatial and network data, including marketing employees who need access to the data for tasks such as notifying customers about planned outages.

“By allowing field personnel access to a secured Autodesk MapGuide site, they can better plan their day, find the job location, and access relevant gas system information. That helps to increase their productivity and makes their jobs easier,” said Jeremy Maines, IT manager at Okaloosa Gas.

After completing the first phase of the project and improving the quality of its data, Okaloosa Gas implemented Autodesk Topobase software to help them turn better data into better information. With Topobase, users can link to various other databases and build interfaces with other systems such as SunGard CIS and accounting applications. Using consolidated information, the team assists in financial planning and operational needs assessments, helping the utility provide more comprehensive improvement and compliance reports.

“Topobase is an enabler to our analytical and reporting needs. With all of this information in a single data model, we can pull valuable information together and report on things such as length of pipe, size, type and condition. We can even identify the number of active and inactive customers by cycle and route. We can generate cathodic protection reports and pipeline integrity reports--helping us to positively impact the safety of the system, our customer base and the general public,” said Smith.


In little less than a year, Okaloosa Gas has been able to make the corrections to the maps and data--helping to improve accuracy and integrity. During this time, the utility has also generated various spatial reports for outage management, active customer information, and project planning.