Monitoring pipelines within high risk areas is a fundamental challenge to the energy sector. Personnel face challenges in interpreting and communicating data that informs critical decisions on pipeline safety.
To create a visualization framework from raw data that allows experts to better understand ground behaviour and pipe movement without the need to dig up the physical pipe.
The holographic rendering of geological hazards has redefined the assessment process giving pipe integrity experts extensive visibility, and driving down costs while reducing the threat of incidents on the pipeline.
Working in partnership with Microsoft, we conducted several envisioning sessions with Enbridge to dive deep into the pipe assessment process and surface their biggest challenges. Out of this came the need to see the visualization of the pipe data to quickly identify areas of concern, combined with terrain visuals and behaviour that will allow geo-hazard experts to monitor pipe movement.
Ground and water movement can cause pipe movement and strain that has the potential to cause catastrophic failure. We set out to reimagine the way Enbridge interprets their data sets and quickly allow anyone to see exactly whatʼs happening underground.
“We see companies overwhelmed by data, yet underwhelmed by actionable information that directs effective decision making. We want to solve that problem.”
Our first job was to work with Enbridge engineers to assess what the most vital information was to surface to the user. From there we developed a back-end workflow to pipe the stored raw data sets into the 3D environment, all contained within an intuitive user interface that simplified the user experience. Combined together it provides the most comprehensive visualization of what is happening to the pipe, and around the pipe, at any given time.
“This technology allows organizations to make informed decisions that increase safety and improve regulatory compliance visibility - at the same time driving down unit costs.”
Seeing the Invisible
Visualization of this magnitude gives experts and trainees a new dimension of understanding, allowing ground movement and pipe movement to be viewed. Users can also view changes in pipe condition over time and more quickly, efficiently, and accurately assess potential problems.
The tool allows geo-hazard experts to view any area of concern across the pipeline. From a macro view to close up 300mX300m sections or zoomed in on a 2 metre by 2 metre visualization.
Users have full ability to manipulate the terrain with the ability to raise, lower, and rotate the terrain, as well as the ability to amplify the data points to exaggerate terrain movement up to X5.
They can view, expand, and animate a visualization of every slope inclinometer, which instantly shows ground movement over time. This clearly illustrates the correlation between ground and pipe movement across any period of time.
Examine each of the six pipelines - with a high resolution heat map of calliper data for each line, with the ability to scrub through years to examine the changing state of calliper data over time. With a user interface that allows the user to quickly navigate to a specific section of any pipeline.
A New Perspective
Using 3D holographic technology to render multiple data sets related to pipeline geohazards will revolutionize how pipeline companies view, collaborate, and manage geohazards across North America.
Blending sensor data, machine learning, and 3D visualization gives a level of visibility never seen before. This allows geo-technical and pipe strain professionals to quickly and accurately assess threats to pipeline integrity, dramatically reduces the threat of catastrophic failure in pipelines due to geological and environmental conditions.