Building a Gas Network Online Platform with SuperGIS Server

In modern countries, water, electricity, and fuels are vital for our day-to-day lives. Without public utility, we can hardly work, move, or even cook some foods to feed the family. It is not an exaggeration to say that modern civilization will collapse in few days if these companies stop their services.

Taichung is the third most populated metropolitan area in Taiwan. Today, there are more than one million people live in the city center and another one and a half million in its suburban area. Founded in 1972, Shin Chung Natural Gas Co. Ltd. is the company that provides natural gas through pipelines to over three hundred thousand households for the downtown Taichung. The services of Shin Chung include building new gas pipelines, managing and maintaining current networks, and delivering natural gas for customers.

As other natural gas providers, Shin Chung needs to manage numerous facilities, such as pipelines (high-pressure pipes and low-pressure pipes), valves, meters, and other fittings, to ensure the gas could be conveyed smoothly and safely. Previously, it stored all facility data and the customer data in a database, which was connected to a GIS server to establish a pipeline management platform. However, this GIS server has significant weaknesses. It did not support all web browsers because of frequent updates from different browser developers. Moreover, it can only be managed by Internet Explorer, and its map services are not supported by mobile devices.

Fig.1 Overview of Taichung City
Fig.1 Overview of Taichung City
To solve the problems mentioned in the scenario, Shin Chung Natural Gas would like to develop a new pipeline management platform, and this platform must meet the following requirements:

1. Staff and managers at the office can manage the gas network without additional browser plug-ins.
2. The interface should be easy-to-use and intuitive.
3. Inspectors can check the data of all facilities directly with their mobile devices.

To fulfill the requirements mentioned above, the Project Team of Supergeo decided to develop a customized pipeline management platform based on SuperGIS Server for Shin Chung.

1. First, to create a more intuitive interface, the Project Team used SuperGIS Desktop to read to the database and edit the symbols to make them more easy-to-understand. After finishing this step, the project team established and published a basic SuperGIS ultra website with basic IIS.

2. Because the basic SuperGIS ultra website can only display data with default templates, it is necessary to develop a customized platform with native JavaScript APIs of SuperGIS Server. To meet the needs of users, the project team has mainly improved the interface design and the querying capability of the platform.

3. Lastly, the project team also customized a real-time positioning function by HTML5 to assist inspectors finding their location in the field.

The efforts of Supergeo Project Team earned excellent results. The established pipeline management platform has fulfilled all requirements from Shin Chung. The core capabilities are listed below:

1. Data Update and Map Display: 
While the manager is updating the data in the database, the platform can display the new data and update the attributes rapidly.

2. Customer Information Querying and Pipeline Management: 
By visualizing pipelines and buildings, the staff of Shin Chung can find the real location of facilities on the map easily. In addition, the platform will display detailed information after clicking on certain features.

3. Real-Time Positioning: 
By catching GPS signals and Wi-Fi locations, the positioning function helps pipeline inspectors to acquire the customer information nearby the current position rapidly, ensuring the security of every household.

Fig.2 The pipes and households
Fig.2 The pipes and households
Fig.3 The distribution of valves and meters
Fig.3 The distribution of valves and meters
SuperGIS Server and its abundant native JavaScript APIs offer great flexibility to develop web GIS applications. Developers can customize online GIS platforms to meet demands from different industries with ease. In this case, with the assistance from Supergeo Project Team, Shin Chung Natural Gas Co. Ltd. has built a more convenient Pipeline Management System that can smoothly operate on all mainstream browsers and has various practical features for fieldworkers, enhancing the efficiency of maintaining and managing its gas network.
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