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How Do I Set Up a Digital Network Model?

When utilities utilize their existing data by creating a digital twin of their network, it enables them to work more efficiently and with greater accuracy on many fronts. However, it can seem like a daunting process to create and set up such detailed models. But it needn’t be! These 4 simple steps will show how a digital twin of the grid, and all its benefits, are well within reach.


Four Steps to a Digital Network Model

1. Autogenerate the Model


Modern technology means that highly detailed and accurate models can be automatically generated from data of many types and quality levels. Everything from LiDAR to 2D/3D Imagery to GIS can be incorporated to improve the model and its analysis.

GIS & asset information is used to populate asset attributes and LiDAR is used geospatial information such as pole location, conductor sag, etc.


Data from external sources can be introduced as well, such as weather or wildfire data. The resulting digital twin is a cloud-based 3D structural model of a utility’s transmission and distribution assets and their surroundings.


2. Run Analysis at Scale


The key benefits of having a digital model are found in the analysis. Scenarios can be modeled on the network, such as high temperatures or extreme wind, with the results highlighting the impact of that scenario on every structural asset across the grid.


The accuracy and speed at which these models can assess the impacts of scenarios will reduce the need for site visits and improve operational efficiency between any teams that make use of them.

Sample analysis such as pole utilization or other points of interest based on various simulations.


3. Edit the Model and Re-run Analysis


One of the most exciting capabilities of a comprehensive digital model is that real-time feedback and analysis occurs when edits are made. This means utilities can model proposed solutions to issues and test the effectiveness or viability of different options instantly. They can also alter the evaluation criteria and determine the flow-on effects of any changes. Try out new pole types, change stringing tension, adjust asset positioning, and much more - all within seconds.

Assets in the model that fail the standard design manual checks


Utilities have even used this when making quick repairs during natural disasters in the field, ensuring that the fix they make is the most effective option available and the least likely to need further restoration work.


4. Customize Views and Reports to the Tailored Use Case.


Similarly to how many types of data can be used to create the digital network model, the model allows for many kinds of views and reporting options for its findings.

The results can be portrayed in different ways depending on the team that will use them – from reports of assets at risk, to geospatial heat maps of issues, to exporting the results via interfaces so other data visualization tools can be employed. This improves company workflow and reduces friction points in sharing information and the model’s benefits between teams.



If you're interested in learning more about how you can use digital models for your use case, you can visit our Solutions Hub, the PLP Analytics Page, or contact us for a demo at info@powerlinespro.com.


Data shown in the images in this post has been fictionalized for privacy.

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