To avoid GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out), before the process of mining the data from the traditional systems, IMMCO, Inc. does what is known as data scrubbing and validation. In this process the key information based on the nature of the queries and reports required for a MSO, is filtered out. The inaccuracy and inconsistency of the data is brought to the attention of the MSO and appropriate action taken before taking it up for data migration. The input data for migration to MapInfo, is run through several processes checking for the database integrity, signal levels, engineering design consistency, design and drafting errors etc. before the files are sent for migration. This is necessary and a critical process in the life cycle of the project, due to the inconsistencies that creep in during the drafting and design processes of these files that are carried out not by one contractor but by several of them. In some instances due to technological limitations at the time of data migration many of the system maps are unintelligent. These are made intelligent by a skilled in-house team either by manual or semi-manual drafting and design processes.
Another obstacle in the path was the multiplicity of CAD formats like Bentleyâ’s MicroStation, AutoCADâ etc. and databases like Oracle, dBase etc. in which the spatial and attribute data respectively to be migrated resided. Thanks to the powerful spatial data translation and transformation software from a third party company. With the aid of custom-made translation files designed in house, the data mining is done at various levels to migrate the unintelligent or relatively less intelligent data into a more intelligent piece of geospatial data in MapInfo. This is essential to enable the network elements to be completely searchable in a web based GIS environment and this is satisfied by virtue of the carefully designed data model and layer structure of iBISS.
The next task was to not only make this intelligent piece of network information available for enterprise wide use but to also provide the end users at various levels with the appropriate tools and interface for querying, report generation and other such routine tasks relating to the cable industry.
MapXtreme, MapInfo’s mapping server that leverages Internet and intranet technology to distribute powerful mapping functionality to geospatial data was our first choice. Along with the appropriate development tools, based on our interaction with some of our most prestigious cable MSO’s and understanding of the key end user requirements, an appropriate web GIS interface has been developed to make the most out of iBISS.
The power of iBISS?
Beyond making intelligent network maps available for enterprise wide use, iBISS has other features that can be used for network operations, field engineering, marketing & sales and engineering purposes.
To quote a few:
The Network Operations Center (NOC) could use iBISS for trouble ticket dispatch at a quicker pace with no more rummaging through cumbersome paper maps or Run an OTDR trace to locate the fiber cut for service restoration or Quickly highlight the consumers who will be affected from an outage, so that the alternative measures could be planned.
The Engineering department can plan before they dig up, as the network plant data is made available overlaid with appropriate GIS landbase layers in iBISS. The engineers can locate any piece of network element like amplifiers, power supply, cables etc. The customer addresses can be clicked to get information like What type of cables run to it? Where is the feeding amplifier? Which node is it connected to? How many houses are wired to the same network? Where are they? and so on. The powerful reporting option could be used to quickly generate engineering inventory reports like the total cable footage, house counts, count of specified pole types within a given service area and so on.
The Accounting department for the inventory report on its valuable assets out in the field has to simply pick the fields on which they wish to generate the reports and the powerful report generation option in iBISS does the rest. Other typical applications would be like franchise fee calculations, weekly or monthly field inventory statements.
The Marketing and Sales department can use iBISS to locate their “Best Customers” based on specific criteria and this could be for their proposed service area or could be within the existing ones. This can also be done to identify the “Best Business” location. iBISS along with the business related layers like the consumer concentration, their preferences etc. can be effectively used to identify areas suitable for reference or direct advertisement.