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In today's environment, utilities need to implement more efficient distribution design processes with reduced labor, optimum designs, and faster turnaround for projects. In addition, they are challenged with diversity of engineering tools, project requirements and users' skill sets throughout their organizations. Designer, part of the ArcFM Solution, is the answer for the design needs of utilities.

Built as an extension to ArcFM, Designer provides an integrated design solution for utilities of any size through an intuitive graphical user interface. Designer leverages on a unified solution platform, using a single, configurable, architecture. Building on the ArcGIS architecture, Designer is an integrated design solution that minimizes data redundancy, improves the accuracy and consistency of corporate data assets, and offers a range of functionality to support the diverse needs within a utility. Designer can be deployed for mobile use to allow designs and as-builting to be done in the field and incorporated into an overall workflow.

This extended application architecture enables simplified implementation. As an open, fully scalable solution, Designer provides the utility user with facility editing, work sketch, posting, plotting, and engineering calculation tools. Utilizing feedback from our users, Telvent recognized the need to provide a single solution with functionality for drafters, designers, job planners, and engineers within the utility industries.

As this technology evolved, it became apparent that this software should address the following needs:

  • Provide an automated means to update the baseline corporate GIS database and reduce backlog.
  • Increase the productivity of designers and job planners by providing design analysis and work management tools in a common environment and single process.
  • Enhance the quality and consistency of job plans, designs, staking sheets, and work packages.
  • Improve engineering decision-making with simplified business solutions by:
    • Providing easy access to engineering/validation tools for small projects, using verification and completion tools.
    • Providing optimization tools for major and complex projects.
    • Using engineering tools on existing data for upgrade projects.
    • Providing a way to track the design process by comparing designs with the as-built and/or comparing the cost estimates.


Designer provides an integrated environment for preparing construction work sketches, job cost estimates, and an automated means to update the baseline corporate GIS database. It also furnishes a convenient environment where the end user has seamless access to the tools of the enterprise resource planning/work management system (WMS/ERP) to provide detailed work requests, scheduling, and material costing information. Designer also provides its own workflow component. Workflow Manager allows users to create and track work requests and designs as well as the associated costs. Utility companies may choose to integrate with an existing WMS/ERP or use Workflow Manager provided with Designer.

Designer Tools

Designer tools include the following:
  • Mobile design
  • Facility design/editing
  • Engineering calculations
  • Full CAD capabilities
  • Automated layouts
  • Full integration with ArcFM™ business rules
  • Work sketch preparation
  • Workflow management
  • WMS/ERP integration
  • Staking

Designer Goals

Designer provides the following functional goals:
  • A client/server application with a modern software architecture running in the Windows 2000/XP environment.
  • An integrated design environment for preparing construction work sketches and job cost estimates.
  • A productive, convenient environment where GIS design functions are integrated with a WMS/ERP to provide detailed work request, scheduling, and material costing information.
  • Drawing tools, visualization, plotting, and analysis functions in a single environment to support most distribution system design requirements.
  • Posting of facilities edits described in the work sketch to the baseline GIS database to reflect the final plant-in-service.
  • An enhanced analysis process by providing tools that can quickly access facility sizing, configuration, and location to ensure the accuracy of designs and reduce over-building.

WMS/ERP Integration

In addition to the facility editing and modeling provided by ArcFM, Designer also symbolizes WMS/ERP-specific functions. This includes the ability to display facilities based on work function as well as symbolize where work is occurring based on job status. Designer can also be used for integration to an existing WMS or ERP.

Facility construction and maintenance are key utility business operations. A WMS/ERP assists the utility with establishing and tracking the work performed. While very broad in nature, for the purposes of Designer a WMS/ERP can be seen as a set of functions that manage the information regarding a work request. These functions traditionally include gathering data regarding a work request, building multiple design scenarios, and estimating the cost of the job to be built by associating standard CUs to the scenario.


Designer Cost Estimate Tool
The Designer Cost Estimate Tool


Designer also offers easy-to-implement interfaces to the user's WMS/ERP. It uses the WMS/ERP's functions to create a seamless work sketch/work management environment, for creating and managing work requests and designs, cost estimates, inventory and other analyses. This is accomplished using components and objects built into Designer that assist in the construction of custom interfaces to WMS/ERP systems, using Visual Basic (VB) and the Object Model.

Designer exposes Component Object Model (COM) interfaces to exchange data with any WMS/ERP using XML (eXtensible Markup Language). These interfaces must be implemented for each specific vendor.


Designer Interface Architecture
The Designer Interface Architecture


Designer does not replace existing functions found within the WMS/ERP. Rather, it uses those functions to create a seamless work sketch/work management environment. Typical functions provided by the WMS/ERP include the creation and management of work requests and designs. It also performs all cost estimating.

Designer Calculates

Designer includes enhanced engineering calculations that can be performed on existing and/or design data. Calculations are included for pole strength, anchor and guying, cross arm loading, cable pulling, clearance, secondary loadflow, motor starting, and short circuit. Design technicians and job planners now have easy access to engineering calculations in their integrated design layout environment, thus simplifying the work process and enhancing productivity.


Bisector Guy Tab
Structural Analysis Calculations: Bisector Guy Tab


The Architecture of Designer

Designer is based on ArcFM and relies on this software for all display, selection, query, editing, and transaction management. Designer is built through ArcFM's extension architecture to ensure updates to ArcFM are seamlessly integrated into the Designer application.

Designer Features

Both Designer and ArcFM consist of a family of geodatabases, which are intelligent sets of objects that represent the behavior and characteristics of landbase and utility features, plus an application layer that is an extension to ArcEditor. Designer includes ArcFM functionality and adds the extended ability to use a single integrated environment to manage utility design and business processes. Designer enhances the ArcGIS environment with the following features:

Design Lifecycle and Versioning

  • Enforce workflow process with Workflow Manager
  • Create and manage workflows process with Process Flow Administration Tool
  • Create and edit designs
  • Maintain versions
  • Identify work-in-progress design
  • Create as-built design
  • Post information
  • Manage editing access
  • Support design in the field

Design Editing and User Interface

  • Manage design and work request lifecycle
  • Search CUs tab
  • Modify GIS features
  • Automate design tasks
    • Place CUs and associated non-graphic CUs
    • Place Macro Units
    • Place work locations automatically
    • Assign CUs to work locations
  • Associate multiple CUs to a feature
  • Explode Macro Units
  • Create template
  • Create macro

Design Analysis

  • Perform engineering calculations
    • Conductor clearance calculations
    • Pin and insulator analysis
    • Soil and anchor analysis
    • Bisector guying calculations
    • Cross arm loading
  • Analyze secondary circuits
    • Transformer impedance values
    • Calculated voltages
    • Data entry for transformers
  • Analyze cable pulling

Design Output Generation

  • Develop work sketches
  • Manage map plots
  • Create inventory reports