Holderness, NH—18 May 2009 — InMaps, a GIS consulting services firm specializing in electric and gas utility applications, provided the temporary on-site geospatial technicians that enabled Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL) to quickly complete a GIS conversion project following the purchase of Northern Utilities in 2008. The rapid conversion and updating of the older GIS files made it possible for Unitil to provide its new gas customers with a seamless transition of service.
“Temporary GIS staffing is a cost-effective solution for any utility that faces a short-term GIS conversion project due to either a merger or because its GIS data backlog has grown too large,” said InMaps President Richard St.Pierre. “We are seeing increased demand for temporary geospatial technicians who can hit the ground running when they are assigned to on-site positions.”
As a specialist in GIS work for utilities, InMaps routinely fills requests for short-term projects involving the conversion and upgrading of GIS data. Some upgrade projects require conversion of hardcopy maps to digital files, while others involve converting a GIS and its data from an older version to a newer one. Depending on the specific project needs, InMaps assigns either its full-time permanent staff or temporary personnel.
InMaps has a permanent staff of experienced geospatial technicians who provide services at client sites or through remote access to their GIS. With years of experience, these full-time InMaps personnel provide a high level of geospatial services. For projects requiring on-site conversion—such as Unitil’s—InMaps has an excellent track record of finding and providing experienced temporary geospatial technicians at competitive rates for short-term activities. These technicians work at the client location on a daily basis for the duration of the project. “We knew InMaps was familiar with the gas utility business, and we heard they could provide us with workers fast,” said Mike Swierz, Senior Operations Systems Analyst for Unitil.
Based in Hampton, N.H., Unitil is a public utility holding company with electric and gas utility subsidiaries. It serves more than 170,000 customers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. In 2008 Unitil purchased Northern Utilities, a natural gas distribution company, and found an immediate need to convert both digital and hardcopy files that Northern had used with its legacy Xerox GIS. Unitil contacted InMaps for assistance with converting the files for compatibility with the Telvent Miner and Miner ArcFM system that Unitil uses to manage its gas and electric distribution network.
“InMaps found us two skilled candidates in less than 30 days and their salaries were very competitive,” said Swierz. “It was not difficult to get the temporary technicians started and they worked at our facility for about six months.”
InMaps handled the entire candidate search and evaluated those who were selected to ensure they had the right GIS and AutoCAD skill sets to make an immediate impact at Unitil on their first day of work. Once on-site at Unitil, the two technicians performed a variety of functions, most notably rectifying and rubber-sheeting converted GIS data against aerial photographs. In many cases, heads-up digitizing was required to collect new features, such as buildings or pipelines that had been built since the original files were made.
Swierz commented that Unitil would look to InMaps again if the need arose for temporary GIS staffing. He noted that one of InMaps’s greatest contributions to the upgrade process was that its experience with other GIS software products brought a much-needed fresh perspective to the geospatial work being done at the utility.
InMaps provides geospatial consulting services for natural gas and electric utilities, with special emphasis in Smallworld systems. Consulting services include application development, technology upgrades, PowerOn support, system integration, compliance reporting, training, and on-site services. Products include GPS Locator and Dimension Toolkit. Field solutions include Automated Driving Survey (for the natural gas industry) and Mobile GIS (which gets Smallworld into the field). InMaps is a GE Energy Value Added Reseller.
Unitil is a public utility holding company with subsidiaries providing electric and natural gas distribution service in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, natural gas distribution service in Maine, and energy services throughout the Northeast. Unitil serves approximately 170,000 utility customers in three states. Its utility affiliates include Unitil Energy Systems, Inc., Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company, Northern Utilities, Inc. and Granite State Gas Transmission, Inc. Its other subsidiaries include Unitil Service Corp. and its non-regulated business segment doing business as Usource.