Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Life Updates

Hi All!

This week has been extremely stressful so I honestly have not been in the office much. My mom fell down the stairs at her work last Wednesday morning and broke both of her ankles so I had been at her home taking care of her until she was admitted to the hospital in Boston last Friday. She has had surgery to repair her left ankle and is doing well considering what happened but she will not be able to bear any weight on her left ankle for 3 months. This has been and certainly will continue to be a learning curve but whatever God brings you to, he brings you through! She has a long road to recovery ahead of her but we're hoping and praying for the best, she will be entering a short-term rehabilitation facility for a week or so before moving back home with my dad and my brother.

In GIS news: I am still working on the Transformer Pad Mount Inspection project, I will be going out with the three person crew and my manager tomorrow to train them on how to use the application and to start collecting data. I'm so glad that we are moving forward with this! I will also be submitting my abstract for the conferences very soon as they are due on Monday, April 3rd...I just need to get the go ahead to move forward with submission.

I am also researching and creating documentation for the new GPS receiver that NAED will be receiving shortly.

There is a lot more going on...including my search for a full-time permanent job position but that is all I will say at the moment! I just wish for luck in my future endeavors whatever they may be! Next week I will be attending the AAG conference at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston with my friend Brittney from BSU who is actually giving a poster presentation at the conference. My blog post next week will focus on the conference! Until then, take care!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Forms Galore

Hello All!

I am back from my honeymoon! We just spent a long weekend down the Cape in Chatham. It was fun! Very quiet since most of the shops down there were closed for the season but we still had a good time! The food at our bed & breakfast was delicious...I highly recommend the Chatham Wine Bar & Restaurant at the Chatham Inn at 359 Main. That is where we stayed and ate! There is also a fun candy shop just down the street, the Candy Manor that makes delicious chocolate covered cranberries!! I could eat them for days (:

Anyways, before I ventured off on my honeymoon I was learning the ProntoForm system that NAED uses for various forms. Once I figured out my way around the site I created test forms that will hopefully get approved to be created for real use.

I'm still working on the Transformer Pad Inspections project, will hopefully be training the linecrew either this week or next week, we're just tying up some loose ends with the project such as getting the Collector application downloaded on the line crew IPads. I will update on more next week.

Enjoy the week!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wedding, Abstract Writing & More!

Hello Everyone!!

Welcome back from Spring Break!! Today marks 11 days since I married the love of my life! The day was beautiful but freezing cold!! The wind chill made the temperatures feel like they were below zero!! But all went well, everyone had a great time! I've heard so many compliments on the food and the cake, which is great because I didn't get to eat anything except the stuffing!! Now I've just got to go on my honeymoon this weekend and finish my college career on a high note!

I am meeting with the operations manager and the men who will be conducting the transformer pad inspections next week on the 22nd so hopefully we can finish this project completely!! My abstract for both the Bridgewater State University Undergraduate Research Symposium and the NEARC conference are due on the same day, April 3rd. I have been working on my abstract for that which is hard to do since my project isn't finished yet! The critical portions of my research project are done, since the research, development and configuration aspects are done with the project, but the implementation of the application has yet to start so I can't reflect on successes or failures in my abstract. I am assuming that all will go well with the application but you never know if there are any glitches or whatnot! This process has definitely taught me patience. I am one who dedicates my time to one or two tasks and completes them in full before moving on to the next, this process has had me work on numerous tasks while waiting for the inspection process to start with the primary task that I was assigned for this semester. Hopefully this project will be fully completed before I need to present my results at the symposium on April 24th...we shall see!

I have also been spending my time working on a map book that was requested by one of the Engineers here and I have been working with my manager Heather on updating the Fiber Map for another project manager. I still have yet to learn any more about fiber but hopefully will learn that soon too.

For now, please enjoy these pictures from my wedding!

My Wedding Cake! As Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan describes it,
"When a geographer marries"
Myself, my husband Walter, and our good friend Brittney who
is also a graduating senior at BSU majoring in Geography!
Walter and I sharing our first dance to the song
"Rest of My Life" by Bruno Mars

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More Adventures with GIS

Hello everyone!!

I can't believe that my wedding is only 3 days away!! I am definitely starting to freak out, I've been engaged for a year and a half now so it's crazy to think how fast the time has passed and now we are here! AHHH!

Anyways, I have been working on other maps and projects for the Electric Department while I wait to train the linemen on how to use the collector application for the pad mount transformer inspections.

One project that I worked on was I had to analyze 5 locations in town where the Electric Department is looking at placing solar farms. I used the spatial analyst extension for ArcGIS Desktop and ran the Area Solar Radiation tool on the DEM for North Attleboro and each desired location. I had done a very similar project for my final project in GEOG 413 last year so I have had experience with using this tool. Since I save all of my notes from my previous classes *in case I ever need to refer to them  again*, I was able to follow my notes from the project I did for class and very easily finish this project for the Electric Department. It is nice to directly apply skills learned in the classroom in the real world!

Another project that I worked on had to deal with the Fiber Cable lines. Now I know almost nothing about Fiber. Going into my internship I knew very little about the electrical system but I am learning more each day! There is one man here who knows everything about fiber, that is his specialty. He will hopefully be sitting down with me sometime soon to teach me about fiber because when I was working on the map for him, much of the information went over my head. I did what I was told and completed it, but what good is a map if only one person can understand it? So I will hopefully be learning about fiber soon.

I shall keep you all updated on GIS and maybe post a wedding picture or two after the big day! Enjoy your upcoming Spring Break, I know I will!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Other GIS Endeavors

Hello everyone!

Hope that everyone is having a good week thus far! It's crazy to think that my wedding is only 10 days away close!!

Anyways, I just wanted to update you all on how things are going around here. The transformer pad inspections project is almost completed! I'm just waiting on word to train the inspectors and go out with them on inspections for a few days until they get used to using the IPad and the Collector application for the inspections.

For research purposes, I have looked into other products that offer similar capabilities such as AmigoCloud however I found that it was tricky to use and did not have the functionality to allow a user to only edit pre-existing points nor could I figure out how to get the related table to appear. I consulted with my manager and she said not to worry about looking more into AmigoCloud because it did not appear that it would serve our needs like Collector does.

Since I have been waiting to train the inspectors, I have been working on other GIS tasks and projects in the meantime. I have updated their map that deals with the transformers to reflect the new changes. I have also been working with one of my coworkers, the System Engineer, on editing a map document that will be displayed in his office. I was given a large map that he had printed and was going to hang on the wall. Once my manager and I realized that he was going to hang the map for all to see, we knew that I had to help him since he does not know GIS. He works with it very sparingly.

So I took this map containing all of the information on the town's Overhead and Underground Circuit Distribution (wires, circuits, reclosers, capacitors, switches, poles, manholes) and information about the layout of the town (roads, parcels, wetlands, bodies of water). Coming from a GIS and cartographic stand point, having this much information on one map is A LOT. The map that I was given had symbols that were way too big and had labels that you could not even read. I tried to get rid of some of the items like the wetlands, but my coworker insisted that everything stay. He just wanted it all to be readable. So I went through every single street, recloser, capacitor, manhole, 4x4 manhole, and handhole to re-label each and every one. They were all labeled but the labels were not showing up because of their size and position. I converted all of the labels to annotation and went through each label one by one making sure that you could see it and that it was where it was supposed to be. This definitely was a time consuming process and there may have been an easier way to go about things, maybe a python script? But I still am not comfortable with using arcpy mapping as I am afraid I will somehow mess the whole system up! But going through each label one by one needed a lot of patience and ended up being somewhat soothing. I remember when I first took a GIS course, I did not have any patience and I despised the program. However after much hard work, dedication, and learning that I had a knack for perfection, geographical analysis, and mapping, I discovered that I found my niche.

In the end, what I created from the map that I was given was a large map containing all of the information that my coworker requested all at a readable scale and I added the necessary map elements such as the tile, legend, north arrow, scale bar, and data credits. I added in a NAED logo for good measure too.

My coworker just printed the map to hang on his wall and for some reason it looks like one of the reclosers and one of the capacitors were selected and the map ended up exporting and printing them with a blue dot in the middle. Strange as I have never seen that before! But since it's such a minor detail he still hung the map on the wall (I did make sure that there were no more mistakes before exporting it to pdf for a final time).

It's always nice to change things up for a while and get back to the basics of GIS, which is cartography. I had a nice few days of just focused work on the map. Now I'll be on to the next project...making solar maps! I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Substation Tour & Python Scripting

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Photo of a Substation (not the NAED Substation)
I was able to take a tour of the Substation! I certainly learned a lot of new information and was able to see first hand where the towns electrical supply comes from. Of course I did not see where the electricity is generated because that power comes from many miles away at a power plant. What I was able to see was how the Electric Department gets their electricity from the power lines running across the transmission towers that you commonly see along highways or fields. I was also able to see how the voltage gets stepped down to be transported locally and how everything is controlled. It is quite an involved process! I also got to see inside of a pole mounted transformer, and see how  the transformers are repaired and tested. There is a lot of work that has to be done to get the electricity to your home everyday. It is a lot more involved then I'm sure anyone has imagined. We take our electricity for granted, we don't realize the complexity and the dedication of hardworking men and women that it takes for us to simply turn on the light switch or stove or any appliance and to have it work. Touring the substation and seeing things first hand really gave me a better understanding of the work that it takes to get ample amounts of electricity to our homes and businesses.

Transmission Towers

In other news, I have been doing lots of Esri training on Python Scripting. I have completed the web courses and received certificates for the, "Basics of Python (for ArcGIS 10)", "Python Scripting for Geoprocessing Workflows", "Python for Everyone", and "Python Scripting for Map Automation".

 I have been working on these courses because while working with the photo attachments in the Collector App, my manager wanted to be able to export all of the photos into a folder and rename them based on the transformer that they belong to. Seems simple enough right? Well no. With Collector, there is currently no way to rename the photos. When looking at them in ArcGIS Online you have the ability to download the photos one by one, rename name them and then reload them to the map document...that's too much work and tedious. So I found through ESRI that there is a way to batch export all of the photos attachments in ArcMap using a python script. I loaded the script as a new tool in a toolbox and ran the script which produced a folder full of the photos! However the photos had the generic "attach1_photo1", "attach401_photo1" name, not descriptive at all!

Through the help of Esri technical support, my manager and I were able to find where in SQL Server the global id and attachment id's for the photos are located. With that information we are able to go into ArcMap, compare the relative global ids from the photos to the global ids of the transformers and rename the photo. We are sure that there has got to be a python script that can do that for us, but at the current moment we have no idea. In the meantime, I went through and manually changed the names of the photos to reflect the transformer it is attached to.

Once we have the Collector app fully up and running we're hoping to sit down with our IT department to see if they know of a way to automate the renaming of the photos. Let's hope that they can, I will keep you updated!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fieldwork Fun!

Hello Everyone!

For my weekly update, I wanted to let everyone know that I have conducted fieldwork for the application!

Example of some of the Inspection Questions
I have been testing out the application and configuring the tables and required questions for the app. What has been tricky is that Collector does not currently have a functionality where you can set fields as required. This has become a bit of an annoyance as there are certain fields in the table that we would like to be required and others that are not. We have tried to combat this by making the "required" fields not allow Nulls, but each time we have tried to do this we get an error message. For now, our workaround for this issue is that I have renamed the field aliases for the required fields so that they say (Req.) at the end. While this renaming will not enforce these fields as required, it will show the inspectors that these are the fields that they need to be most concerned about when doing an inspection. If we see that these edits have not been made, we will send the inspector back out to collect the information.

But I have successfully tested the application in the field! We have decided to use the Collector App in a connected setting (for now...might change later). It really is a fairly straightforward application to use, I have written up a tutorial on how to use the application for Pad Mount Transformer Inspections in both a connected environment and in a disconnected environment. To be sure that we wanted to use the Collector solely in a connected mode, I was sent out to the western parts of town where the cell phone service can be spotty. I had no trouble getting cell service for the IPad but I did have trouble finding Pad Mount Transformers as I had never been to that part of town before. I should have looked at my map before I went out to do fieldwork but I thought that I would just be able to find transformers on the roads that I was sent too...nope. The Pad Mount Transformers were all on side streets in housing developments....I didn't know that before going out. But I had fun exploring.

In total, I field tested about 30 Pad Mount Transformers. While I was out on my own testing the application, I was just visually inspecting the transformer from the outside. However, I was able to go out to the field with one of the inspectors and see first hand how the actual inspection would go. I was able to see inside both a single phase transformer (supplying houses) and a three phase transformer (supplying a business). It was nice to finally be able to see what I have been customizing the application for. The inspector told me that he'll take me into the substation at one point to see what that is like, should be cool!

  The green triangles represent the transformers that I field tested

Hopefully I will be able to train the inspectors on how to use the application soon and then we will see how well the application does in their hands!