Click to Know What’s Above and Below

Software User Groups — A Cooperative Approach

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By Sher Kirk, Operations Director, Utility Safety Partners

Providing software for the creation of One-Call tickets is a niche market, and there are not many software companies catering to the needs of the few facility notification centres in North America. Often, our software is developed as a companion product by companies whose primary business is running contact centres or providing ticket management software to a much larger market. For every one notification centre there are hundreds of potential ticket management software customers. As a result, it can be challenging for notification centres to find a software partner willing to help them to build a software and develop it to meet changing needs.

Utility Safety Partners is happy to have found a great business partner in our current provider, PelicanCorp. Last week, Pelican held its first user group meetings, hosted by our colleagues at Underground Service Alert of Northern California and Nevada. The User Group sessions allowed every notification centre that uses One Call Access (our ticketing software) to get together and strategize with the developer about where the industry is going and what kind of software features might be required. The meetings were productive and illuminating, as we found out that we share many priorities with the other notification centres. Everyone was engaged and excited about moving forward together. 

We identified a few key elements we wanted to have the developer focus on over the next one-to-five years:

Reporting: Contact centres gather and store an incredible amount of data. The information we collect can be used to predict volumes, to understand industry trends, and even to build out risk models by analyzing damages related to requests. We asked for improved access to the database so we have the ability to inform and guide our stakeholders by building out specialized ad-hoc reports.

GIS/Mapping: We recognize that the future of damage prevention and the Click Before You Dig process is dependent on our ability to take advantage of available GIS tools and searchable map layers. For our members to take advantage of automation, we need to provide accurate dig site polygons in digital geospatial formats. These files allow members to place the dig site polygon accurately inside their own map software for screening purposes, or to share information with the locators more quickly and accurately. For our users, the mapping process needs to be as easy and intuitive as possible, with the most current searchable map content we can provide and simplified tools to draw their complex dig sites.

Cradle-to-Grave excavation tracking: Ideally, the notification process should be able to track and store the life cycle of a project from planning to locate request to asset owner response to reporting a damage or no-damage completion. This kind of information is critical to understanding how and when damage occurs and providing excavators with a one-stop-shop for the information related to a single project. 

The Pelican user group will meet virtually every quarter and in-person once a year going forward to keep the momentum moving on continuous improvement to our software. User feedback is always welcome. Feel free to share your ideas with us at


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