We have great news to share with you! After the long three months of hard work, we have finished the initial version of our first GIS project, PowerMap. PowerMap is a utility network management platform customized for Power utilities. We have launched our GIS wing and started to focus on GIS projects a few months back. We’ve found it is interesting to work on utility management applications and decided to build it on the top of Open Street Map.
Kerala Government is very much interested in free software projects and has an encouraging attitude towards startups. As KSEB is an organization migrated to free software tools years back, we had contacted them to pitch the product. When we get to know about their positive response to this product, we started customizing the application for Power utilities. The application is a Django project leveraging OSM features through Railsport API. We had initially developed a basic application integrating iD-editor, osm2pgsql, tegola, etc. Drawing points, polygons and lines, custom set of properties for different data, power utility-specific data ( pole details, conductor types, transformer, substation, switches, etc.) are the key functionalities of PowerMap.
One of our team members was involved in the Mapping Survey for KSEB, which was a collaborative project by ICFOSS and KSEB. PowerMap is considered as an extension of the particular project. Mapping Survey project by ICFOSS helped KSEB in building a huge spatial database of assets such as HT lines, poles, switches, transformers, substations, and their metadata. After two months of work, this helped KSEB in digitizing a network consisting of approximately 60,000 Kms of 11/22 kV (HT) line with around 15 Lakhs pole supports with a minimum accuracy of 5 meters. After the survey project, Kerala State Electricity Board Limited has been looking for reliable solutions for a highly flexible customized mapping tool with a facility for adding and editing these data through an online platform. This tool is expected to be the prerequisite for initiating the process of evolving distribution plans of the organization.
The main challenge in the project was the quality of data collected. To leverage the power of Open Street Map we had to make sure the data collected follows OSM standards. So, after having discussions with KSEB, we decided to implement the project in two stages – Data cleanup and PowerMap integration. Data cleanup will be done using JOSM(Java Open Street Map), an offline desktop OSM editor built with Java. We have already documented the possible issues in the existing database and solutions for cleaning up data. Training on the same shall be provided soon for the KSEB staff.