Utility companies must make use of a wide array of information in the normal operation of generators and transmission systems. With the emergence of the smart grid, the amount of information these companies must handle has grown precipitously.
However, much of the information used by utilities is only truly meaningful when taken in a geographical and spatial context. To help manage this information, market analyst Pike Research projects that utilities will raise spending on geographic information systems (GIS) to as much as $3.7 billion in 2017.
"The smart grid has energized electric utilities to think creatively about how to improve the delivery of electrical power and the business and workflow processes that enable it," says vice president Bob Gohn. "As the deployment of intelligent field equipment, particularly advanced metering infrastructure, has surged, the applications leveraging this infrastructure are increasingly dependent on GIS-based data for critical real-time performance."
Pike splits up the GIS technologies being used between those that are already in common usage such as facilities management systems, tools that have recently gained prominence such as asset management and emerging technologies such as smart meters.