Trail Documentation for the Smallworld Electricity Data Model

This module is an ideal extension for utility companies who want to document their power grid in detail including precise locations of cable trenches. Based on the Smallworld sector-specific data model for electricity, customers with a classical multi-line cable depiction are also able to quickly switch to the singular trail depiction.

The map shows correct locations of cable trenches. Overhead power lines are depicted using a trail centre line or a trail surface area. Furthermore, the trail surface area visualises the actual location (width, etc.) of a trench or overhead power lines. This map does not contain visual information regarding individual cables. However, profile views are available including labels.

This module can be helpful in the following scenarios:

  • if maps with a trail depiction already exist
  • when transitioning from a multi-line cable visualisation to a singular trail depiction, for example if there is a lack of space or
  • when a more cost-efficient method for documenting detailed maps is required

The process of creating maps is consistent with classical approaches where GIS data is quickly applied:

  • Creating an overview map: As there are no strict requirements regarding precision, this map can be edited relatively quickly.
  • Digitalising trails in the detailed map: Only a single trail is documented and not every individual cable.
  • Assigning cables to trenches: If objects that can be assigned to a trench are available in the map, no new objects have to be edited. Instead, they can be selected and allocated to the correct trench.

Trail Solution for Detailed and Overview Maps

Users can decide whether the trail module should be implemented to depict cables in a detailed or overview map. A classical approach is applied to firstly generate an overview map. However, applying the singular trail documentation to detailed maps is easier. Documented cables are still available in cable management plans and can be used for analyses and calculation. If the geographical overview map is empty, other themes can be displayed in the map such as plans for switching off electricity supply or geo-schematic plans.

Trail Surface Area and Intelligent Profile Views

Individual cables that are covered by a trail surface area can be made visible. This type of documentation is called “electricity multi-line documentation including trail surface area (I-Trab)”. The intelligence is mainly found in profile views. Thanks to a proficient configuration, these profile views are created and visualised in just a few mouse clicks. They are either depicted as a profile cross section or a spherical cross section with labels. Cable labels can be edited directly in the profile view.

Navigation Functions

Constructing cartographic dimensions is easy. A straightforward data model with standard Smallworld geometries (points, lines and texts) is implemented and can be used for all applications as well as sector-specific data models.

Various methods for navigating between important objects of a trail are available, for example from route to cable, from cable to trail, from trail to cable and many more. Visualising, highlighting and editing functions are always available. It is also helpful to directly navigate from the spherical cross section to the cable section that is highlighted.

Functions such as disconnecting a cable and rerouting electricity or synchronising windows as well as switching to a spherical cross section view compliment the product well. In addition, the trail magnifying function can be activated on any given point with just a mouse click. As a result, a window opens and cables can be edited.

Functions (an excerpt)

  • Trail surface area is an object in the detailed map and contains references to all cable sections, pipelines etc.
  • Style visualisation depends on number of cables
  • Editor for trail surface area: adding, displaying, highlighting, removing, special editor for merging, dividing trail surface areas, creating trail surface areas, network analyses
  • Disconnecting and rerouting electricity
  • Fittings: Visualising, adding and removing fittings
  • Trail surface area labelling
  • Trail-specific functions for connected electricity objects
  • Optimised TN inspection
  • Displaying child objects in additional editors
  • Managing the cross section visualisation
  • Right-click mouse functions for displaying the internal world of a cross section
  • Highlighting cable sections and routes
  • Displaying a list of cross sections for a specific cable section
  • Implementing a trail module for a detailed or overview map
  • Synchronising numerous GIS windows whilst editing


  • Quick and cost-efficient data editing, optionally based on a detailed or overview map
  • Editing individual cables is not required
  • Reducing topology redundancy
  • Easy and cost-effective grid documentation
  • Maps have a higher precision by precisely depicting cable locations without generalising
  • Higher transparency, which in turn produces better results for grid management and other applications
  • Main grid map is quickly available for data editing projects

Support and Consultation During Trail Documentation


We listen to your aims and analyse the current state of your grid documentation including all GIS data. You will receive a recommendation including a concept for your future trail documentation. In the process, we will compare a set of solutions ranging from an easy documentation to an intelligent trail surface area solution for both the detailed and overview map. The analysis includes a calculation of futue cost savings.

Pilot Phase

Within the pilot phase, we will convert specific excerpts of the power grid into a trail. The real trail surface area is then reconstructed based on ALKIS. In the process, we will, for example, shift all cables of the detailed map into the trail surface area or delete cables that already exist in the overview map. Afterwards, we will add cartographic dimensions of the trail surface area. The results of the pilot phase can be used to convince users of the application.

Preliminary Study

We will evaluate the trail precision based on your data. In the process, themes, models, functions and visualisations are compared quantitatively and qualitatively. This includes object and attribute counts as well as non-depictable (missing) model components. In order to achieve the best functional results, we will also create function comparisons for use cases. Finally, various visualisations are compared to one another and tested using plots of specific grid excerpts based on the pilot phase.