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Lessons learnt from interfacing ArcGIS and

DIgSILENT PowerFactory at Bakent DISCO


Mahmut Erkut Cebeci, Osman Blent Tr

Seyit Cem Ylmaz, Ozan Gre, Okan Benli

EPRA Engineering Procurement Research Analysis


Ankara, Turkey
erkut.cebeci@epra.com.tr, osman.tor@epra.com.tr

R&D Department, Bakent Elektrik Datm A..


Ankara, Turkey
cem.yilmaz@eedas.com.tr, ozan.gurec@eedas.com.tr,
okan.benli@eedas.com.tr

AbstractSmart grids require not only smart tools to


automatize grid operation and planning processes but also
require smart approaches to maximize utilization of the
capabilities of those tools as well. Geographic information
systems (GIS) provide an integrated suite of software for
visualizing the system data, tools for network optimisation, and
a range of automation and information processing systems
which assist in the operation, maintenance and planning of
distribution networks. Interfacing of GIS data with
sophisticated power system simulation tools facilitates model
updating process for the network planner who needs updated
network data for operational and planning analysis. Quality
and quantity of data in GIS database generally limit the
planners. This paper presents a smart process for interfacing
GIS based database with power system simulation tools, based
on the lessons learnt from interfacing ArcGIS with DIgSILENT
PowerFactory at Bakent DISCO.
Index Terms - ArcGIS, DIgSILENT PowerFactory, interface,
power distribution, simulation.

I. INTRODUCTION
Importance of interfacing different tools, like;
geographical information systems (GIS), supervisory control
and data acquisition systems (SCADA), power system
simulation software, remote metering, etc., for both
operational and planning purposes has been increased by
recent technological developments at power distribution
sector. These systems, sensibly integrated and with real
information distilled from the mass of data available in them,
can be used to make big improvements in the quality of
electricity supply; in the quality of customer service; in the
efficiency of operation; and in the handling of strategic
decisions in times of emergency [1]. For example, the
interface between GIS and power system simulation software
facilitates model updating process for the network planner
who needs updated network data for analysis [2-4].
The privatisation of the Turkish Electricity Companies
has put unprecedented pressure on the power distribution
sector to know exactly what system it has and how best to
operate and plan it, and therefore high quality, accurate
information is now financially extremely valuable. Bakent
DISCO (EDA in Turkish abbreviations) of Turkey has been
working for the last five years in implementing an integrated
suite of tools and automated facilities to capture the network
information and use this for efficiency gains. Development of
a geographical asset database in ArcGIS software is among
the major program of network information data capture at all
voltage levels from the customer service cable right through
to the primary supply infeed; a suite of software for viewing

the data in the office and in the field; tools for network
optimisation; and a range of automation and information
processing systems which assist in the operation and
maintenance of the distribution network [5].
Bakent DISCO has DIgSILENT PowerFactory [6]
power system software license which has been utilized in
operational and planning activities in the company. Research
and development (R&D) department Bakent DISCO has
been executing a project for six months for interfacing
ArcGIS database and DIgSILENT PowerFactory software to
capture updated grid data from the ArcGIS system along with
geographical information for power system analysis with
DIgSILENT PF software.
This study presents a smart process for interfacing GIS
based database with power system simulation tools, based on
the lessons learnt from interfacing ArcGIS with DIgSILENT
PF at Bakent DISCO. Overview of the company is presented
in Section 2. Structure of interfacing algorithm is outlined in
Section 3. The lessons learnt during this interfacing study are
summarized in Section 4. Conclusions drawn from the study
is presented in Section 5.
II. OVERVIEW OF BAKENT DISCO
Bakent Electricity Distribution Company is responsible
from electric distribution activities, including investment,
maintenance and operation, in Ankara, Bartn, ankr,
Karabk, Kastamonu, Krkkale and Zonguldak provinces of
Turkey as seen in Fig. 1. Bakent DISCO is a company of
Enerjisa who took over the company from the government at
2009, during the privatization process in Turkey.

Figure 1. Distribution service area of Bakent EDA.

GIS database of Bakent DISCO mainly provides


geographical and linguistic network data storage;
functionalities to manage the assets constituting the power
supply (transformer, line, etc.) and events related to these

978-1-5090-0866-7/16/$31.00 2016 IEEE

assets (maintenance, downtime, etc.). Interfacing of


DIgSILENT PowerFactory with GIS database of Bakent
DISCO is will enable utilization of updated geographical and
linguistic data in performing power system analysis in the
scope of operational and planning purposes.

detailed queries. The results of such spatial analysis are stored


within ArcGIS and retrieved by Python Shell via queries and
cursors. Given the ability of the ArcPy API, all functions of
ArcGIS are available to be utilized within the interface
algorithm.

III. STRUCTURE OF INTERFACING ALGORITHM

IV. INTERFACING ALGORITHM

There are mainly two possible ways to interface GIS


database with the DIgSILENT PowerFactory software. The
first and indeed the most convenient way is to prepare
attribute tables within GIS database in a proper format which
DIgSILENT PowerFactory can directly read the data and
develop the system model automatically. This process needs
some preliminary studies among the GIS data collection team
and DIgSILENT PowerFactory users. Integration of the GIS
with other tools (e.g., SCADA system) should also be
considered in determining the final formats of the GIS
attribute tables. It is generally preferred to make one of the
tool (e.g., GIS) as a master and configure the other tools
accordingly. However, such a preliminary study has not been
made, and therefore, integration of different tools is much
more complicated. In such cases, an export filter approach
(second possible way) is necessary in order to read GIS data
and prepare a DGS file to import GIS data into DIgSILENT
PowerFactory. Although the export filter is a one way data
extraction method, the ArcGIS Python API (ArcPy) allows
the user to generate a two way communication for integration
GIS with the DIgSILENT PowerFactory, if necessary. For
the Bakent DISCO, the export filter approach method is
applied for interfacing ArcGIS and DIgSILENT
PowerFactory, as detailed below.
Main structure of the software interface is given in Fig. 2.
As seen in the figure, the Python Shell imports the APIs at the
beginning of the program to enable communication with both
ArcGIS and DIgSILENT PowerFactory. GIS database of
Bakent DISCO is designed such that most of the attributes
of the features (e.g., Medium voltage (MV) cable crosssections, installed transformer capacity, etc.) are stored via
numeric values. Definitions of these values are kept as LookUp Tables in the ArcGIS database. These definitions can be
read into Python Dictionaries in order to be utilized during
the execution of the interfacing algorithm.

Flowchart of the interfacing algorithm is given in Fig. 3.


As illustrated on the flowchart, the process starts with reading
the GIS database and continues with interpreting and
reformatting the data to be read by DIgSILENT
PowerFactory. Reading of the GIS database starts with
importing relevant libraries and activating APIs. The data
path for the feature class can be static data as well as can be
selected by the user.

Figure 3. Flowchart of the interfacing algorithm.

Figure 2. Main structure of software interface.

Interfacing with DIgSILENT PowerFactory software


requires ArcGIS to make specific spatial analysis as well as

Topology of the network is controlled throughout the


process. Given a huge database system, GIS might include
topology and attribute errors that cannot observed via regular
GIS checks easily. The interfacing algorithm allows the user
to detect such errors along with suspicious data, make
corrections via pop-up dialogs and log the encountered GIS
errors to give feedback to the GIS data collection team. The
ArcGIS - DIgSILENT PowerFactory interface project
showed that GIS data collection team can easily pin point the
problem and make necessary correction in GIS database by
means of these logs. Therefore, it is strongly recommended
to start such an interfacing study in parallel with GIS data
collection as illustrated in Fig. 4 (not in sequence as usually
done as illustrated in Fig. 5).

Figure 4. Recommended process.

Figure 7. Normally open point determination.


Figure 5. Common but not recommended process.

During data interpretation, new data layers and feature


classes are generated in order to simplify the work load.
However, these layers and feature classes has to be cleared
before the end of execution of the interfacing algorithm.
Hence, a housekeeping algorithm is utilized to keep the
source data clean and ready for next use. Finally, the DGS
data format is generated and feed into DIgSILENT
PowerFactory software to generate power system model.

B. Busbar objects reaching out of substation area


GIS data model can include further difficulties due to the
differences in drawing decisions and power system
simulation software requirements. As a specific example, the
network drawings can include busbar structures that reaches
out of substation areas to create a connecting network.
Accordingly, the interfacing should have the flexibility to
except the busbar structures that reaches out of the substation
area as connecting line pieces as shown in Fig. 8.

Figure 8. Busbar connections reaching out of substation area.

Figure 6. Example of a T-connection (junction point) in GIS.

A. Normally open points (ties)


Determination of normally open points is another
challenge. Essentially, the main idea of interfacing is to be
able to make load-flow analysis in power system simulation
software. A proper load-flow analysis of a distribution
network can only be performed with a proper topology
information including the separation points of the feeders
under normal operating conditions. The normally open point
information is usually stored in GIS via Enabled/Disabled
information of switching equipment. Hence, this information
has to be extracted properly to have a realistic and radial
network topology as shown in Fig. 7.

C. Busbar configuration determination


Busbar configuration of substations (double busbars,
couplings, etc.) is among the most important information that
should be properly extracted to power system simulation
software. GIS may either keep this information via attributes
of relative features or include the drawing of the busbar
depending on the data model. In latter case, the configuration
has to be determined via interfacing algorithm. The busbar
configurations are recorded as drawings (not features) at the
Bakent DISCO case. Further, each busbar consists of a
various number of busbar feature class elements, splitting the
busbar at each connection points. Such configuration
challenges in determining whether the configuration is a
single or double bus structure. In such cases, the interfacing
algorithm should be configured to determine the busbar
configuration for each bay as shown in Fig. 9 and 10.

Figure 9. A double busbar configuration example in GIS.


This image cannot currently be display ed.

E. Modelling of line sections


Overhead line (OHL) representation in GIS can also be a
challenging in interfacing with power system simulation
software. Commonly, the OHLs are modelled in GIS by one
feature between two sequenced poles. Therefore, an OHL
connecting between two substations generally consist of
several hundred line pieces. Extracting this data from GIS
requires modelling of each connection point in the
DIgSILENT PowerFactory software, which increase the
solution matrix for load-flow drastically. However,
DIgSILENT PowerFactory allows modelling of line sections
without increasing the solution matrix but also keeping all the
piece details within the model as shown in Fig. 12. This also
allows a smooth load-flow analysis and enables to query
systems like OMS (Outage Management System) via each
line piece. A screenshot taken from ArcGIS and from
DIgSILENT PowerFactory developed by the interfacing
algorithm are depicted in Fig. 13 and 14, respectively.

Figure 10. DIgSILENT PF model for double busbar configuration.

D. Transformer type definition


Another common issue is the decision on how to use the
transformer catalogue information. One of the approach is to
utilize generic data for modelling transformers considering
the installed capacity. Nameplate data (including no-load and
on-load losses, transformer vector group, tap information,
short circuit impedance, etc.) can also be utilized if available
in the GIS database, to generate unique transformer types. For
Bakent DISCO, the interfacing algorithm is configured to
read nameplate data of the transformers and to generate
unique transformer types. First, the transformer data is read
from the GIS database, then, if such transformer type is
generated before, the existing type is assigned to the
transformer, if not, a new transformer type is generated
automatically, as shown in Fig. 11.

Figure 11. Transformer type definitions in DIgSILENT PowerFactory.

Figure 12. Modelling of line sections in DIgSILENT PowerFactory.

Figure 13. ArcGIS screenshot.

Figure 14. DIgSILENT PowerFactory grid model after interface with


ArcGIS (colors corresponds to different MV levels).

V. CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

A smart process for interfacing ArcGIS database with


DIgSILENT PowerFactory software is presented. Main
conclusion of the study is that the studies for interfacing the
distribution network GIS database with the power system
analysis software give significant contribution to the GIS data
collection process. Feedbacks given by such a study ensure
quality of the data to be collected on site as experienced at
Bakent DISCO. Consideration of this interface in parallel
with data collection phase also facilitates the design phase of
GIS data collection. The details which can be ignored by the
GIS data collection can be captured by such an interfacing
study.

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[5] www.arcgis.com/features/
[6] www.DIgSILENT.de/index.php/products-PowerFactory