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La revue soGaz #5

Unveiling of the connected marker post at the SIdO Show

On Tuesday, April 7, in Lyon, at the SIdO Show dedicated to the Internet of Things, GRTgaz and the start-up company Eridanis unveiled a new “thing”.

the connected marker post. The purpose of this innovation is to improve the monitoring of damage to marker posts alongside the gas pipeline routes. Attentive to the safety of people and property in the vicinity of its infrastructures, GRTgaz views this innovation as an additional way to maintain the integrity of its system1.

In future, the online marker post could enhance the existing monitoring system (remote monitoring centre, ground inspections, overflights…) using a disruptive technological innovation: connected objects. GRTgaz’s yellow marker posts, positioned at regular intervals all along the 32,000 km gas transmission system, mark the presence of underground gas pipelines. This signage is needed to prevent the pipeline being damaged by third parties, in particular public-works contractors.

Borne jaune GRTgaz à Gardanne (Bouches-du-Rhône) - crédit : GRTgaz
GRTgaz marker post in Gardanne (Bouches-du-Rhône) - credit: GRTgaz

Eridanis and GRTgaz have combined their skills to develop an operational method to receive and process the information generated by the marker posts, and then transfer it to GRTgaz operators. Fitted with sensors (accelerometer, verticality sensor, GPS, temperature sensor) connected to an emitter, the connected marker post sends out a signal when a problem in its positioning is detected (tilting, damage,…). The prototype is based around a communication network (Sigfox technology2) and a monitoring platform.

Anticipating real potential benefits for its operations, GRTgaz has started a full-scale experiment to test the performance of the system in real-world conditions. Some one hundred of the online marker posts, located at different points around the country, will be monitored over a year to test the reliability of the equipment and communication protocols, and the added value of the system for operators.

1Link to film: GRTgaz : les mesures de sécurité déployées pendant la phase d'exploitation d'un ouvrage
2Since it was set up in 2009, Sigfox has worked on establishing the simplest, most economical and most energy-efficient worldwide network for the Internet of Things.