Rural Electric Utility Uses GIS to Obtain USDA Funding

ESRI SoftwareCarroll Electric Cooperative Corporation recently enlisted geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri to help secure funding from Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The utility, serving northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri, used GIS to prepare a new system analysis and facility planning report, both crucial for the loan justification.

“The maps and analysis made possible with Esri technology give us the whole picture, including the geographic details, of our electric system,” said Kean Steely, vice president of engineering and operations at Carroll Electric. “We are now able to provide an overall perspective of our utility improvement plans, which was particularly useful when preparing the system planning report for RUS.”

Carroll Electric’s move to GIS marks a significant improvement in how the utility maintains system records and displays data analysis—an improvement that was especially beneficial to the RUS reporting process.

GIS has changed the way Carroll Electric utility executives, engineers, operators, and crew visualize and study the electric network. Staff can access information about routing and cost to make confident recommendations for system improvements. The utility uses GIS to keep a record of these planned system improvements and to prepare appropriate documents for environmental reviews. Additionally, Carrol Electric can more easily maintain infrastructure data, analyze customer use for growth projection, and monitor the load flow of the electric network.

Hawaii Builds Broadband Coverage Maps with Esri Technology

ESRI SoftwareThe State of Hawaii recently launched an interactive broadband mapping Web site based on Esri technology. Visitors to the site will be able to view broadband coverage throughout the state. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) is continuing to collect and verify data related to availability, speed, and location of broadband services in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Broadband Map Web site will be an important resource for consumers in Hawaii, enabling them to identify and choose from the growing number of broadband services that are becoming available in the state.

Hawaii’s broadband coverage maps are built with BroadbandStat, an application developed by Esri that enables the user to map information from a variety of sources and provide a visual way of exploring the results.

States can use the collected data to pinpoint where the expansion of new broadband services will support local economic development. The data is also a useful resource for policy makers, grant writers, and companies doing broadband investment research. Internet access to the maps gives the public a way to find information about broadband services in their area and give feedback, whether to report observations about the data or comment on their own broadband access and experience.

Twelve U.S. states and the territory of Puerto Rico will be using BroadbandStat to organize their broadband services data and make interactive maps available on the Internet. These activities are supported by more than $20 million in State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program funds that were made available through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for improving broadband accessibility across the nation.