In an industry with challenging commodity prices we are always trying to find additional efficiencies in our workflows which may translate into greater value for the company.
One workflow we identified which could benefit from greater efficiency dealt with frequent map update requests. Our geologists are each assigned a specific region and with each database update they would request a new map and then visually analyze the map looking for new activity in order to determine if it might impact our operations. I wanted to accelerate the dissemination of reliable and actionable information and reduce map requests at the same time.
My solution was to create a 100% self-serve system consisting of subscription data, open source data, FME processes and Portal web maps. The FME process is the at the center of this system. FME performs daily updates to our databases from the remote data sources, analyzes the data and how it relates spatially to our assets, and finally creates easy to read personalized lists of daily activity which it emails to our users once a day. Users subscribe to these email activity lists by logging into our interactive “subscription” web map where they draw polygons around areas they want to monitor and choose the type of activity they need to monitor. After FME completes the daily activity updates to our spatial databases it then dynamically constructs each personalized activity list using HTML. When constructing the HTML for each activity item in the list I use the attributes as variables which allows me to present each list item in a more verbose, friendly and easy to read manner. FME also enables me to automatically and dynamically construct a URL for every activity item in the list with latitude and longitude parameters so that when a user clicks the hyperlink the Activity Web Map will open and zoom directly into that location.
The result is a process I called S.E.N.S.E. (Spatial Event Notification System Email) in which a routine morning FME process spatially joins our updated databases with existing areas of interest polygons in order to build personalized and dynamic email activity summaries for each subscriber.
This new workflow reduces map requests which allows the GIS personnel more time for other tasks such as data improvement initiatives. Subscribers are able to more quickly digest the activity in list form allowing them more time for other tasks. This system is also expected to easily scale up as new subscribers are added. The S.E.N.S.E. process allows us to deliver more insight to more users in a clear and concise way and is a contributing factor in keeping costs down by negating the need for additional GIS staff and resources.