DALLAS — A specialized geohazard risk management platform to identify, inventory and track geohazards across more than 32,000 miles of TC Energy’s U.S. pipeline system in 38 states has received special recognition for Engineering Innovation from the Southern Gas Association (SGA).
The annual SGA Awards recognize members for advancing the natural gas industry. The 2023 winners were selected from 61 nominated projects with more than 1,500 votes cast from Southern Gas Association members. Winners were announced on June 13.
TC Energy’s GeoForce was built within the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcGIS Enterprise, a robust and industry-leading mapping and location analytics platform, and customized by WSP USA, a leading engineering, environment and professional services consultancy. The toolset centralizes data into a single geospatial platform that is used daily by members of the Weather and Outside Forces (WOF) geohazard threat management team.
The GeoForce program has been very successful in better supporting geohazard threat management for TC Energy, a company that provides world-class energy infrastructure to communities across North America.
The web-based platform includes multiple custom apps and dashboards that enable the WOF team to efficiently view, summarize, add and update geohazard threat data. Another key feature is its connection to the ArcGIS GeoEvent Server, which provides near real-time geohazard threat notifications via dashboards and email, plus detailed information about sections of the system that are impacted by geohazard events.
“TC Energy’s datasets are extensive, covering their entire footprint across the U.S. — a sizable portion of which crosses through areas that are highly susceptible to geologic hazards,” said Stephen Schmidt, assistant vice president and asset risk data management practice lead at WSP. “This includes 15,000 active areas and some 30,000 water crossings that are being tracked for TC Energy’s pipeline system, so it’s a massive amount of data. We’re currently in the third year of this project and already preparing for the ninth release of the platform this September.”
GeoForce is designed to handle three primary types of threat data:
- pipeline exposure locations: Supplies essential information about areas where pipelines may be exposed and potentially prone to damage or interference,
- water crossing locations: Focuses on significant points of potential risk within the TC network and the data that helps manage and mitigate those risks, and
- landslide identification: Provides a repository of all identified landslide sites near the centerline.
In the web-based platform the WOF team can rapidly view, query and inventory new geohazard threat data and readily cross reference spatial threat data with other TC Energy datasets.
While Schmidt oversees the data management portion of WSP’s work with this longtime client, other members of the team are involved in the field program. Initially, data on 15,000 landslides was collected.
“Those are all individual site delineations for high resolution LiDAR data, with numerous high-risk locations requiring an in-person site assessment,” Schmidt said. “About 10 years of field work went into collecting the initial database and, today, data is still being collected.”
Schmidt added that collaboration with our WSP team in Turin, Italy, resulted in custom data entry tools, several automated project workflows, and development of predictive climate models, as well as automated data integrity checks.
Essentially, WSP built a novel system on the client’s network with the client’s software and data, leveraging it in a more robust manner that was customized to address the real needs of TC Energy.
“It can be difficult to quantify the value of what we are doing because it’s about risk mitigation,” Schmidt said. “So to have SGA recognize the GeoForce system as an innovative risk management tool highlights the value of what WSP and TC Energy are achieving.”
SGA is an important forum for recognizing leading natural gas companies across the U.S. and Canada, supporting and showcasing companies and individuals that achieve real, measurable business outcomes in their organizations.
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering, environment and professional services firms. Recognized on Fast Company’s Brands that Matter List for 2022 as a top Community-Minded Business, WSP USA brings together engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals who are dedicated to collaborate in the best interests of serving local communities. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 15,500 employees in 300 offices across the U.S., WSP partners with its clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com