Minnesota Underground Utilities Mapping Project Team

The Minnesota Underground Utilities Mapping Project Team (UUMPT), within the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC), was formed in August 2020. The UUMPT works to increase locate efficiencies and accuracy, reduce damage to the state’s underground infrastructure, and improve operational and construction safety by leveraging current and emerging GIS technologies through cross-community collaboration to develop best practices and promote technology solutions.

Chaired by Barbara Cederberg, COO of Gopher State One Call, and Steve Swazee, Chair of EPC, the UUMPT is broken into smaller work groups: Facility Operator Utility Mapping, Locate Data Flows and Management, Outreach, and Regulations and Security. Initial response to the project was exceptional as committee members represent a broad range of community stakeholders.

The work groups are actively researching resources to deliver a Best Practices document to the industry. Areas being developed include how to lower operational costs for stakeholders, improved operational safety for utility operators and construction teams, advancement of geospatial technologies with a corresponding improvement in policy and procedures, and increased resiliency of Minnesota’s underground infrastructure. It is anticipated the project team may have a considerable life span and could potentially evolve into a self-standing body.

FACILITY OPERATOR UTILITY MAPPING WORK GROUP

Led by Travis Beran, President of Subsurface Solutions, the Facility Operator Utility Mapping work group is researching GPS utility mapping technologies. This work group is identifying the most time efficient and accurate technologies for underground utility location with the goal of discovering emerging technologies designed to make utility mapping more cost-effective and easier to use.

It’s important to understand what information one would gather and share during a search for the right equipment. The Facility Operator Utility Mapping work group invites equipment manufacturers and app developers to demonstrate their solutions during monthly large group calls. Each demonstration is posted on YouTube. The goal of this work group is to demonstrate how different solutions work while encouraging utility operators to consider how they can increase the accuracy of their maps and ultimately reduce damages.

LOCATE DATA FLOWS AND MANAGEMENT WORK GROUP

Led by Brad Anderson, GIS Manager with the City of Moorhead, the Locate Data Flow and Management work group is beginning a detailed mapping of the existing process flow of data acquisition and maintenance workflows to ensure assets are as accurate and complete as possible for utility locating.

As this project moves forward, the work group will research existing data exchange standards and exciting new technologies around the country that provide 3D visualization of underground utilities prior to excavation.

The Locate Data Flows and Management Work Group is working toward developing a best practices model for sharing this data with utility locators in the field with the goal of reducing damage to Minnesota’s underground infrastructure and, just as importantly, improving safety for workers and the public.

The UUMPT works to increase locate efficiencies and accuracy, reduce damage to the
state’s underground infrastructure, and improve operational and construction safety
by leveraging current and emerging GIS technologies through cross-community
collaboration to develop best practices and promote technology solutions.”

OUTREACH WORK GROUP

Led by Valerie Mendoza, Event Planner with Infrastructure Resources, the Outreach Work Group is developing communications geared toward large and small excavating companies, design engineers, and facility operators to educate and build awareness toward damage and liability reduction. This work group looks forward to sharing success stories through case studies submitted to industry publications like dp-PRO, and social media groups.

REGULATIONS AND SECURITY WORK GROUP

Led by Dean Parker, Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, the Regulations and Security Work Group is researching regulatory limitations and requirements for GIS data sharing. The work group will also research guidelines and best practices to allow for safe and secure sharing of GIS data. The work group is performing a detailed analysis of existing regulations and practices concerning the secure sharing of GIS data, as well as communicating with industry professionals to gain a better understanding of existing security practices. The work group will look to the information it has gathered in preparing suggested guidelines to support development and implementation of best practices by the other work groups.

The work group is working toward guidelines that will help assure that sensitive GIS data is shared only with stakeholders who are authorized to use the information and that the information will only be used for an authorized purpose.

If you would like to learn more on the progress of the UUMPT, visit the MGAC Emergency Preparedness Committee page on YouTube: youtube.com/channel/ UC3hwp5_9t3BkiTt-hyALArg

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