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Transportation Department Unveils Pipeline Mapping System.

At a public meeting held February 12-14 in Arlington, Va., the Office of Pipeline Safety, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, presented its highly anticipated National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). The online system features a nationwide map of the natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines located in the United States.

The OPS unveiled the map as a tool to help government officials, communities, and pipeline operators educate themselves about the pipelines in their areas, including how they relate to the environment in which they exist. Besides simply locating the pipelines on a map, NPMS uses data layers to place the location of pipelines in relation to highly populated areas, commercially navigable waterways, and natural disaster hazard areas. In the future, OPS also plans to include road and rail networks, important buildings such as schools and hospitals, and Unusually Sensitive Areas as defined by OPS, on the mapping system.

Anyone can access the map and its capabilities by visiting Although the current map only depicts 49 percent of the nation's pipelines, the OPS expects that 100 percent will be completed by the end of this year. This mapping system will be very useful to cities in planning excavation projects. By giving them the information they need, third parties can avoid rupturing a pipeline.

Outside interference is currently the number one cause for pipeline accidents resulting in death and significant damage to property and the environment.

Also during the meeting, the OPS strongly encouraged public input on how pipelines affect communities and how OPS should implement its Integrity Management Program.

Local officials are invited to comment on these issues by simply going online to submit. For unregistered users, the process in simple and instructions are included on the web page. Fill out the docket form for Docket No. 00-7666, and indicate the operating agency as the RSPA. For those wishing to file written comments they can be sent to: Docket Management Facility, US Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Finally comments can also be faxed to the Docket Management Facility at 202-493-2251.
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Author:Hoople, Daniel
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 26, 2001
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