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The Fulcrum Focus

Stay in the know with thought leadership, product updates, and latest news on field inspection and data collection topics.

Esri GIS for site assessments on solar and wind farms

As the world continues to grapple with the pressing challenges of climate change and energy sustainability, the importance of renewable energy has never been more pronounced. Solar panels and wind turbines are at the forefront of this movement, providing clean, sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. However, the successful deployment of these technologies depends heavily on precise planning and strategic placement. This is where Esri GIS and field data collection platforms such as Fulcrum come into play, offering unparalleled tools for identifying optimal locations and ensuring the success of renewable energy projects.

Ensuring grid stability with high-quality Esri data collection

The electric grid is a complex and dynamic network that requires continuous monitoring and management to ensure stability and reliability. In this context, high-quality data collection is not just beneficial but essential. Esri’s GIS technologies transform how electricity utilities manage their infrastructures. By integrating Esri with Fulcrum for data collection, utilities can enhance their operations across various facets such as grid management, asset management, and outage response. This blog post explores the impact of this integration on ensuring grid stability.

Ensuring efficiency: a look at field operations in the utility sector

In our day-to-day lives, whether we’re brewing morning coffee or binge-watching our favorite series, we’re dependent on the seamless operations of utility companies. The unsung heroes who ensure that electrical, water, gas, and telecommunications services are constantly up and running are the field operations teams. But what exactly do these teams do, and how has real-time data collection revolutionized their workflow? Let’s start by exploring how field operations factor into each of these sectors.

Importance of electric utility partnerships and collaborations

Utility partnerships are playing a crucial role in the modernization and sustainability of energy systems worldwide. By bringing together diverse stakeholders and leveraging shared resources and expertise, these collaborations are enhancing service delivery, fostering innovation, and driving economic growth, while also addressing some of the critical challenges of energy transition and environmental sustainability.

Documenting electrical equipment in the field using multimedia

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” takes on new meaning for field technicians documenting maintenance and restoration needs of electrical equipment. Multimedia has revolutionized the way we document electrical equipment in the field. Now, using high-resolution photos, videos, and audio, we’re capturing details like never before. These tools bring the intricate details of maintenance and restoration to life, from spotting a tiny crack on a transformer to hearing the subtle sounds indicating a potential issue. 

Role of AI in predictive maintenance for utilities

Utility management is rapidly evolving, largely due to the implementation of predictive maintenance techniques. By harnessing technology to anticipate and address equipment issues before they escalate, we’re moving towards a more proactive approach. This shift not only streamlines operations but also cuts down on costs and unexpected downtimes.

Mapping the wind: harnessing wind turbine GIS data

Wind energy stands at the forefront of sustainable power generation strategies. As interest in renewable energy grows, the wind sector is evolving through technology and data analytics. The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data is central to this change, optimizing turbine performance and sustainability. Mapping wind with GIS data goes beyond knowing wind patterns. It involves using precise insights for efficiency and reliability in wind power. This blog discusses how field data, combined with geospatial technology, drone inspections, and sensor monitoring, is transforming wind energy use, making it a cornerstone of sustainability.

The intersection of geospatial technology and energy management

Geospatial technology is revolutionizing various industries, particularly energy management. As the cornerstone of sustainability and efficiency, geospatial technology – comprising Geographic Information Systems (GIS), satellite imagery, and drone technology – offers profound insights and optimization capabilities across sectors. Optimizing energy resource management not only addresses immediate operational efficiencies but also steers the global sustainability agenda. This blog explores the powerful connection between geospatial technology and the energy sector, highlighting how it can drive transformation and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Using a digital data collection platform for pole inspections can prevent tragedies

Securing the integrity of the electrical grid is a paramount task that begins with rigorous inspections of utility poles. These pole inspections are critical for preventing service interruptions and averting disasters. The devastating Smokehouse Creek fire in Texas this February, the largest in the state’s history, starkly demonstrates the consequences of neglect. Affected homeowners allege that Xcel Energy failed to properly inspect and maintain a wooden utility pole, which ultimately splintered and snapped at the base. The utility has not specified the exact cause of the fire, but does concede that it was sparked by a failure in its infrastructure.

Renewable reclamation through GIS data collection software

Renewable resource reclamation represents an innovative progression in environmental management, focusing on the revival and rejuvenation of ecosystems previously impacted by human activity. By infusing sustainability into the recovery of these landscapes, there’s an emphasis on ecological balance and the thoughtful repurposing of natural resources. A pivotal element in these endeavors is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, providing the advanced tools necessary for detailed data collection and insightful analysis, which are the cornerstones of any successful reclamation project.

How Fulcrum powers up electrical cooperatives

The electrical cooperative industry faces many challenges, including operational inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities. Fulcrum’s advanced field data collection and process management platform offers a promising solution to these issues. By integrating innovative technology with on-the-ground tasks, Fulcrum transforms the way electrical utilities manage their field operations, resulting in increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved service reliability.

Fulcrum strengthens geospatial capabilities with Esri Bronze partnership

Hey there, Fulcrum community! Jim Grady here, and I’m very excited to share some news that marks a significant milestone for us at Fulcrum and, more importantly, for you, our valued users. Our journey with Esri has taken an exciting turn, and I’m here to dive into what this means for all of us.

Exploring field workflow automation in geospatial industries with Fulcrum

Industries such as environmental consulting and utility services are increasingly recognizing the practical benefits of Fulcrum’s platform for field data collection and process management. Fulcrum’s approach focuses on rapidly evolving existing workflows to improve efficiency. Join us as we explore case studies from GeoForce, Great Lakes Wellhead Inc. (GLW), DIEHLUX, and TREKK Design Group to see firsthand how Fulcrum’s technology streamlines tasks and boosts overall efficiency with field workflow automation.

Fulcrum’s role in geospatial data integration

Geospatial data integration involves combining geospatial data (which is data related to specific geographic locations) from various sources into a single, comprehensive dataset. This process typically requires harmonizing different data formats, coordinate systems, and data models. The integrated data can then be analyzed and visualized more effectively, providing a comprehensive geographical perspective. This is particularly useful in fields like urban and rural development, environmental management, and construction, where understanding spatial relationships and patterns is crucial for decision-making and planning.

Utility vegetation management: a key player in preventing power outages

Utility Vegetation Management (UVM) is the strategic management of tree and vegetation growth around electrical power lines and infrastructure to prevent power outages and ensure the consistent delivery of electricity, playing a vital role in safeguarding the reliability and safety of our power supply.

Fulcrum’s central role in integrated office and FieldTech ecosystems

Even though you might not have heard the term “FieldTech ecosystem,” if you’re with an organization that collects data outside of an office setting, you have one. 

Using GPS tracking in the field when collecting data

The ability to accurately track and record data in the field is essential for a wide range of industries. From environmental research to construction, the precision and efficiency provided by GPS tracking have transformed how field data is collected, analyzed, and utilized. This article explores the integration of GPS tracking into fieldwork, focusing on a new feature from Fulcrum, a leading field data management tool.

Electric utility readiness for evolving FCC pole attachment standards

Broadband deployment is essential for modern societies, driving economic growth, enhancing communication, and enabling access to a wealth of information and services. Central to the expansion of broadband infrastructure are pole attachments – a seemingly mundane yet crucial aspect of network deployment that involves attaching cables and equipment to utility poles. Recognizing the importance of these attachments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a series of reforms aimed at streamlining the process and addressing longstanding issues that have impeded broadband deployment.

Geo Week 2024: Exploring the future of geospatial intelligence

Geo Week 2024 marked a significant milestone in the evolution of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). The event showcased significant advances in airborne, terrestrial, and commercial 3D technologies. In response to evolving geospatial and built world professionals’ needs, it brought together experts, innovators, and enthusiasts from around the globe. As a result, it served as a melting pot of technology, ideas, and advancements in the field. Moreover, it emphasized the fusion of traditional geospatial methods with the latest trends. Additionally, it integrated AI and big data analytics into mapping and spatial analysis.

What is FieldTech?

FieldTech refers to the specialized technology and systems designed for outdoor operations and fieldwork. Unlike traditional office-based technologies, FieldTech solutions are crafted to meet the unique challenges faced by teams working in diverse and often remote environments. This encompasses a wide range of hardware and software, from GPS, sensors, drones, and GoPros, to data collection and asset management to real-time communication, all tailored to enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of field operations.

Accommodating field data with your enterprise GIS implementation

As a GIS Manager, you’re at the forefront of merging the traditional with the modern, ensuring that your organization leverages the best of spatial insights to optimize its operations. The implementation of an Enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) is a pivotal step in transforming your business’s field data capabilities. But how can you seamlessly incorporate this technology to maximize its impact?

Time-saving GIS data collection techniques

Field operations in numerous industries rely heavily on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to collect and manage spatial data. The intricacies of mapping terrain, analyzing environmental data, and planning infrastructure development depend on the accuracy and efficiency of GIS. Given the vast amounts of data needed and the rapid pace at which decisions must be made, field technicians are under constant pressure to perform tasks quickly without sacrificing the quality of data.

Water asset management: challenges and solutions

Water assets, crucial elements like rivers, lakes, and treatment plants, are the cornerstone of environmental health and human well-being. This blog navigates the world of water assets, highlighting their importance and the challenges in managing them – and the role of digital data collection platforms like Fulcrum in streamlining these efforts. These technological advancements not only enhance efficiency but also ensure sustainability, marking a significant step forward in how we interact with and protect our water resources. Join us in exploring the integration of technology and environmental stewardship.

Accelerating operational flexibility with FieldTech and GIS SaaS integration

Embracing cutting-edge solutions in today’s fast-evolving operational landscape is essential, and one such innovation is the convergence of Field Technology (FieldTech) — technology built for and managed by field teams — with Geographic Information System (GIS) Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. These integrated platforms are revolutionizing industry workflows by providing unprecedented agility and capacity to adjust to market and environmental alterations quickly and effectively.

Maximizing ROI with data collection software for utility companies

Utility companies may hesitate to embrace a SaaS (Software as a Service) field data collection software and management solution due to the substantial investments in their current methods, from pen-and-paper to complex in-house digital platforms. These entrenched systems represent significant sunk costs in time, money, and training – investments that may be painful to put aside in favor of a SaaS solution, despite the benefits.

GIS project management: best practices and challenges

GIS data is the cornerstone of planning decisions. GIS data helps us understand the relationships between a location and the surrounding environmental and social context. In sectors like utilities, environmental engineering, telecom, and others, GIS project managers use geospatial data to create accurate models and forecast possible risks. Project managers plan and oversee the completion of all major GIS-related projects. They depend on accurate field data to create timelines and allot resources. GIS project management is a complex job, with many moving parts. In addition to creating the overall workflow plan and timeline, the project manager also interacts with clients, oversees the budget, and supervises work teams.

How to build data visualizations with geospatial technology

An added benefit to our increased ability to collect geospatial data is our equally heightened ability to display it. When we combine data collection solutions with geospatial technology, we can enhance how our data is communicated. In effect, we can create dynamic data visualizations.

GIS data management: from digital maps to landscape realities

Geography influences a vast array of business, government, and personal decisions. The “how” and “why” of processes and developments often come down to the particulars of place. The physical realities of a location are important, obviously, but so are the social specifics. The environmental context is also vital. Understanding not only what all those attributes are but also how they interrelate requires a thorough collection of geospatial GIS data.

How sinkholes crash the underground fiber optic party

As the telecom world races towards better connectivity, underground fiber optic cables have become the go-to solution. However, this advancement comes with an unintended consequence – the potential risk of sinkholes. As these high-speed conduits burrow deeper into the earth, they intersect with a delicate subterranean balance, occasionally disrupting natural water flows and contributing to soil erosion. This can lead to the formation of sinkholes, presenting a new set of challenges for urban planners and telecommunication companies.

Boosting operational productivity in the field with digital data collection

Ramping up operational productivity in the field is a major goal for any GIS Manager, and it hinges on one crucial factor: quality data. Forget the old-school methods of scribbling notes in a notebook. The game has changed with the advent of data collection technology. This isn’t simply about the replacement of outdated tools with new technology. Instead, it’s a fundamental shift in how we handle field data.

Overhauling America’s aging water infrastructure

Water touches every aspect of modern life. Obviously, drinking water is vital, but we also need plentiful water for agriculture. The manufacturing and technology sectors use water for cooling purposes, as does power generation. In fact, America uses more water than almost every other nation on earth. However, the infrastructure that provides, cleans, and delivers that water is crumbling.

Why every community needs a stormwater management plan

Urban environments, by their very nature, create ideal conditions for excessive stormwater runoff. As these areas expand rapidly, alongside the evolving challenges of climate change, the need for comprehensive stormwater management becomes more critical. These expanding cities, with their unpredictable shifts in climate patterns, significantly impact stormwater systems in complexity and scale.

Technology innovations in electrical infrastructure maintenance and repair

The global use of electricity continues to grow every year. In fact, electricity usage in 2022 was more than three times higher than in 1980, and demand continues to climb. A robust plan for electrical infrastructure maintenance is essential to safely meet the needs of our interconnected world.

How utility companies will use Fulcrum to gain an actionable advantage in 2024

As 2023 draws to a close, utilities face considerable headwinds, finding themselves squeezed by regulator-driven demands for sustainability and environmental care, and grappling with escalating service delivery costs. In this challenging landscape, GIS-enhanced data collection emerges as a crucial tool for utilities, aiding in balancing these demands while maintaining operational efficiency.

Prevent wildlife causing power outages with data collection software

Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society, powering everything from homes to hospitals. Yet, this critical service is surprisingly vulnerable to the natural world, particularly the untamed antics of wildlife. Every year, curious critters are the cause of widespread power outages, leading to significant economic losses and reliability issues for utilities. As electrical utilities seek innovative solutions to mitigate these interruptions, data collection software emerges as a pivotal tool in the strategic arsenal against wildlife-causing power outages. This blog explores an interesting use case for such software: managing wildlife interference effectively to ensure the protection of both animals and the reliability of utility services.

Top three tech tools for water disaster management

As the global climate continues to fluctuate, water disasters are on the rise. The United Nations (UN) recently reported that harmful water events top the list of the world’s most destructive disasters. The number of water-related disasters has increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years, driven by climate change and weather extremes (and also, at least in part, higher population density and better reporting). And while the death toll of these events have leveled out over the years due to better warning systems, the economic toll of the crises has not. Over the same time period, costs related to water emergencies averaged out to $202 million USD per day.

Driving geospatial innovation in field services with Fulcrum

You know how, when you’re in the field, you sometimes need to step back to get a little perspective? It’s similar with software. We recently took a few minutes to host a webinar, Chart new territory with lines and polygons in Fulcrum, to help our customers understand how our geospatial innovation and capabilities fit in with our purpose as a company.

Strengthening electrical poles for future storms with Fulcrum

With the alarming increase in extreme weather events, electrical poles face an unprecedented challenge. Damaged poles can incapacitate a grid, leaving communities in darkness, cutting off communication, and stalling vital services. However, the solution is not costly-full scale replacement of the many poles that make up a grid. Instead, utilities are much better off reinforcing poles and implementing preventative measures. Fortunately, field data collection and inspection software can help utilities strengthen electrical poles, grids, and services against future storms.

Geolocation data in disaster response: how Fulcrum is making a difference

The power of where in emergencies

In the critical moments following a disaster, the ability to pinpoint and act upon geolocation data can be lifesaving. For utility companies, this information is the compass that directs the restoration efforts in a landscape where traditional landmarks may no longer exist. Geolocation data provides clarity amidst the confusion, enabling a swift return to normalcy.

How GIS mobile data collection connects teams across distances

What is GIS mobile data collection?
You might be familiar with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a technology that has been a cornerstone for capturing and analyzing spatial data. GIS mobile data collection with platforms such as Fulcrum takes this foundational technology to the next level. It’s not just about creating maps or storing data; it’s about instantaneous capture and sharing of geospatial information.

2023 gift guide for people who love geography

Four years have flown by since we last navigated the globe for a geography gift guide, and it’s high time for an update! Whether you’re a map enthusiast, a trivia titan, or just looking to jazz up your desk with a spinning Earth, our latest roundup of geographically great gifts will have you plotting a course to the nearest ‘Add to Cart’ button. From puzzles that challenge your flag knowledge to mugs that serve up a side of humor with your morning brew, we’ve charted a course for presents that promise to elevate your latitude and attitude in equal measure. So, grab your compass and let’s embark on a journey through the best gifts for the geography lover in your life – no passport required!

What is geospatial data collection?

Imagine merging the where with the what to make smarter decisions – that’s the essence of geospatial data collection, a cornerstone in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Whether you’re in utilities, urban planning, environmental science, or any other field that requires data to be correlated with exact locations, understanding this practice is essential. This blog post will demystify the what, why, and how of geospatial data collection, equipping you with the foundational knowledge to make more informed decisions based on location-specific data.

Risk and resilience management of stormwater systems

Protecting us from floods and pollution, stormwater infrastructure keeps our communities and economies safe and healthy. However, standing at the forefront of a rapidly-changing world – from unprecedented urban growth to extreme climate events – they have come under increasing strain in recent years.

Water quality technology: A GIS-enabled approach to monitoring water quality

Not only is clean and safe water vital for public health, but failing to ensure water quality also has wide economic and environmental consequences. Water quality technology has traditionally involved cumbersome or slow sampling and testing methods, often delaying the identification of contaminants. However, Geographic Information System (GIS) has now made real-time water quality monitoring more simple, effective, and accurate than ever.

Elevate efficiency with water utility management software

Managing a water utility is no small feat. From ensuring regulatory compliance to maintaining aging infrastructure and streamlining operations, the list of responsibilities can be overwhelming. That’s where effective technology comes into play. A robust water utility management software solution can transform these everyday challenges into opportunities for enhanced efficiency and better service quality.

Green geometry: harnessing advanced GIS in vegetation management for utilities

Vegetation management is a continuous challenge for utility companies. From mountain forests to city streets, ensuring vegetation doesn’t interfere with electrical lines is critical for safety and service continuity.
This is no easy feat, especially if utilities rely on outdated data collection methods that can’t properly track critical data points or produce decisive insights.

Data-driven oversight: navigating utility pole partnerships

Despite their decades-old prevalence, utility poles stand at the forefront of a technological evolution. As telecom companies build ever-newer networks, utility poles become essential equipment for both legacy electrical grids and cutting-edge telecoms. Doubling pole use benefits both utilities and telecoms, but these utility pole partnerships can present numerous challenges without proper oversight. 

Fulcrum’s new frontier: bringing lines and polygons to life

I’m excited to share some big news with you today. We’ve brought lines and polygons to Fulcrum, a move that’s been high on our clients’ wish list for quite some time. This isn’t just a new feature; it’s a big step forward in making GIS-oriented data collection and field operations more straightforward and effective, a goal I had in mind when I joined Fulcrum four years ago. And believe me, we’re just warming up.

WEFTEC 2023: the future of water engineering and infrastructure

The Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) 2023, held in Chicago, IL, was more than just an event; it was a transformative experience. As attendees from all over the globe converged to discuss, learn, and collaborate, the conference provided a comprehensive understanding of the water sector’s current challenges, recent innovations, and future opportunities. One of the standout discussions was the potential integration of platforms like Fulcrum within the water industry, emphasizing the role of technology in shaping water engineering, infrastructure, and resilience.

Bolstering electric infrastructure resilience: the power of AI for utilities

Global electricity demand is projected to grow between 62% and 185 percent by 2050.  As our world becomes more electrified, new challenges threaten the reliability and stability of our power infrastructure.

Inspections help to keep up with electricity demand from public EV charging stations

The future of electric vehicles (EVs) presents a looming challenge. The projected demand for public EV charging stations will place the US electrical grid under immense strain.

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