The overall success of a fully integrated measurement process is highly dependent upon two major factors: data collection and the integrated measurement software (IMS). The primary function of the IMS is to allow all of the collected data (e.g., electronic gas measurement data, meter inspection and calibration reports, laboratory gas analyses, etc.) to be uploaded into a centralized system and then processed. Once the data has been uploaded, the software should be able to perform a broad range of auto-validations. While these validations can typically be completed in seconds, over 300 validations may need to be performed on each hourly record.
Some of the most common validations are as follows:
- Missing Data – the IMS should detect and alert for any missing data so that either a re-poll can be executed or an acceptable estimate may be used for the missing information.
- Frozen Value – a comparison of selected flowing parameters to prior records should be made to identify any possible disruptions of live data feeds.
- Single Run – an automatic comparison of a meter's current record with prior records should be performed by the IMS to identify unacceptable excess variations for further investigation.
- Expert System – a comprehensive, fully functional IMS should provide numerous configurable set points so that the user may customize the validation to each individual meter's flow profile.
- Master Characteristics – the IMS should automatically inspect individual meter records to ensure that data from the field device conforms to user-defined measurement contract terms and base reference conditions, as well as the physical configuration of the measurement station.
Other common validations include gas quality data analysis, meter inspection and calibration reports, and system balancing. Without advanced measurement software to quickly and accurately process massive amounts of data each month, the questionable integrity of data used for gas purchases and sales would create uncertainty throughout the entire industry.
To view expanded definitions of the most common auto-validations and other components of an integrated measurement process, please refer to our white paper "The Benefits of an Integrated Gas Measurement Process
," and see our February  Statement of the Month
on integrated measurement for additional background information.
"Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it's for failure."
~ Steven Pressfield, American author