T&D World Magazine

Software Improves Lightning-Strike Response Time

The COGNET Group, a Livonia, Michigan-based IT and GIS consulting firm, has developed a new, customized application for the International Transmission Company, which allows users to export their most current data directly from their GIS model and into data files ready for use with their Vaisala FALLS (Fault Analysis and Lightning Location System) application. The FALLS application assists International Transmission engineers to more effectively evaluate lightning strike events and their possible impact on the power transmission system.

Building on the custom GIS system COGNET created for International Transmission using Graphic Technologies, Inc.’s GTVx ActiveX component, COGNET developers designed and built the customized functionality providing engineers with such export options as voltage categories, separate tower files, stations and substations, and geographical boundaries all from the current GIS model.

Integrating the International Transmission GIS system and lightning strike system allows International Transmission to perform more accurate investigations of lightning strike events. Said Pedro Melendez, senior engineer in the Relay Performance Group at International Transmission, “This new application allows us to protect the electric reliability of our customers by having the ability to locate damaged towers and equipment more quickly, which in turn allows the problems to be fixed sooner.”

According to Larry Cosgrove, GIS practice leader at COGNET, “Previously, International Transmission’s FALLS application imported GIS-based equipment data such as transmission circuits and towers from manually maintained spreadsheets. Every circuit required a separate spreadsheet. When an equipment change occurred in the GIS system, the change had to be recorded in the spreadsheet by an engineer. This was a very tedious process and over time, could introduce errors and create discrepancies between the two systems. Now when changes occur in the GIS model, the new data is created easily and automatically.”

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