In a nutshell, the Outage Finder is Ergon's online tool that uses geospatial technology including Google Maps to show our customers where on our network planned outages are going to happen, where current outages are happening and where outages did happen.

The three teams who developed it have come up with a tool that displays clearly on a PC, the tablet, and the smartphone. It updates every 15 minutes with the latest data from Ergon's Outage Management System and yes, the information is ever changing so a screen refresh doesn't go astray. The extract process uses a spatial ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) tool called FME Server, the same technology as the Ergon Google Earth search within Google Earth Enterprise Client.  Now that our information is being presented to the public it is even more important to have the correct data entered and maintained in our systems.

Thanks to work by our experts, who are most often found working away from the limelight, geospatial technology is now well integrated into Ergon's business and shared more widely.  A large proportion of the programming code used in the latest version of the third-party software used by Ergon to design its network comes from our developers. Ergon's meter boxes have been geospatially located and about a year ago and we started making our network information freely available via the Queensland Government Information Service. The geospatial dataset is updated every quarter and, from a field of 800, is one of the top 50 most accessed datasets. And while all this was going on the Outage Finder gradually took shape.        

For me, digesting information that's served up in a visual display is a lot easier than making sense of columns and rows in a spreadsheet.  We live in a geospatial age. Thanks to great ideas, perseverance, and an eye for innovation we hope that our view of the network in regional Queensland is now just a finger tap away. And this is just the beginning for the Outage Finder. Don't be surprised if one day information about storm and cyclone tracking paths, flood areas, and even fallen power lines appear.

If you want to try it visit our Outage Finder webpage.