You are on page 1of 4

Sensor Web for Interoperability in Power Systems

Nischal Dahal, Student Member, IEEE, Surya S. Durbha, Member, IEEE, R.L. King, Senior Member, IEEE, N.H. Younan, Senior Member, IEEE. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762
Abstract—Electrical systems are highly interrelated. A disturbance in one utility of a region can influence the stability of other utilities. Proper monitoring and critical information exchange in real time is the only solution to prevent an outage in this highly vulnerable system. But, the disparity in protocols used in the power industry and lack of infrastructure of information exchange are proving to be hindrance to achieve a reliable deregularized industry. In this research, an emerging Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards-based sensor web technology has been adopted for achieving interoperability in the power systems. Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) and Common Information Model (CIM) provide a solution to heterogeneity of data and lack of central repository of the sensor data for proper action, in case of a contingency. The sensor data from utilities, published in CIM format, are exposed via Sensor Observation Service (SOS). This provides a standard method for discovering and accessing sensor data between utilities, which facilitates the rapid response to handle contingences. In addition, the application of SWE in power industry pushes power industry one step closer towards automation. Index Terms: Sensor Web, Automation, SensorML, Sensor Observation Service, Interoperability

In addition to lack of a universal communication protocol, the current system does not empower reliability coordinators with a tool for monitoring all the system within his/her region. In case of an emergency situation, it’s very hard for operators and engineers to obtain a clear picture of the global status of the system. The lack of the monitoring system sometimes causes an action taken at one point of topology be counter to action taken at another point. Thus, the uncoordinated actions cannot ensure the mitigation of the effect of a contingency. In this paper, we have proposed a standard based communication infrastructure, which will be the basis for the inter-utility communication. Unlike the current system, the communication protocols used will be openly accessible to everyone. The sensor data will be available to anyone with proper authentication without an issue of heterogeneity. In addition, we will discuss about creating a central intelligence of sensor data which can be relied on by all the reliability coordinators for their decision making. II. SENSOR WEB APPROACH



The inter-dependence of power industry for stability has increased the importance of inter-utility communication [1]. In addition, the deregularization of power industry has also forced to standardize the inter-utility communication [2]. In contrary to the increasing importance of extensive interoperability in the power systems, most of the systems being used in the power industry are either vendor proprietary or user developed standard, making them incompatible with each other [3]. In recent history, we can find numerous severe blackouts, which could have been prevented with mutual information exchange among utilities [1]. Instead of resources being used in proper handling of contingencies, it is being wasted on removing heterogeneities and acquiring relevant data. The wasted resources could have been used in making power systems more reliable by utilizing it on determining countercontingency actions.
This research was funded by US DoHS ORNL Funds #63886. N. Dahal (, S.S. Durbha (, R.L. King ( and N.H. Younan ( are with Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762.

Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) [4] technology is a service oriented open standard developed by Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for discovery and acquisition of power sensor data. SWE can integrate senor data irrespective of physical/logical characteristics of the sensors, providing a platform for interoperability, essential in achieving seamless inter-utility communication. Figure 1 gives an overview of the approach taken with Sensor Web for achieving interoperability in the power systems. The sensor data are published by utilities as a Common Information Model (CIM) [5] document. The CIM document can be queried to retrieve sensor data with the help of tools such as SPARQL [6] queries. The sensor data is then concentrated in a relational database with spatial extension, so that the data can be filtered with spatial distribution of the sensors.

Figure 1 Interoperability achieved with SWE

The database contains all the sensor data within a region irrespective of the protocols followed to acquire the data. It acts as a central intelligence for all the decisions taken against any contingency, so that all the actions taken are coordinated with each other. In addition, SWE has an extensive service of discovering sensors. A user does not need to be aware of the presence of a particular type of sensor in advance. Whenever a certain type of data is needed, the user can query with SWE to find the sensor registered with SWE. The SWE can act as a broker between the user and sensor for accessing the sensor data. III. OGC SPECIFICATIONS FOR SWE

Figure 2 Client-SOS Interaction defined by OGC

B. Sensor Modeling Language Sensor Modeling Language (SensorML) is a standard markup language developed by Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) which provides a common framework for describing characteristics of the sensors. Within SensorML, sensors and transducer components (detectors, transmitters, actuators, and filters) are all modeled as processes that can be connected and participate equally within a process-chain, which utilize the same process model frame as any other process [7]. There are a wide range of sensors being used in the real world from insitu Anemometer to remote spectral radiometer. All the sensors can be modeled in SensorML with equal expressiveness. Before making any crucial decision, user may need to know the sensor characteristics, such as, accuracy, to check reliability of sensor, etc. SensorML has the capability of storing all the sensor characteristics in universal format. A snippet of SensorML for a sensor is shown in Figure 3.

Among several standards defined in the SWE, in this project we have used the following standards. [4] • Sensor Observation Service • Sensor Modeling Language • Observation and Measurement A. Sensor Observation Service Sensor Observation Service (SOS) is a part of SWE as standardized by OGC. SOS provides a service for accessing sensor characteristics and sensor observations. It exposes concentrated sensor data to user so that anybody with proper authentication can access the data. As a variety of applications need a variety of sensor data, SOS empowers the user just to customize the sensor data as per their need. User sends an XML query, with the fields of data (voltage, current etc.), duration in time and geographical range of sensor from which data is needed. In response, SOS returns the user with the requested sensor data in the form of an XML response. OGC has standardized the protocol to access information from SOS. As shown in the Figure 2, in order to obtain the capabilities of the SOS, GetCapabilities request has to be sent; in response, Capabilities Response is received. Similarly, for requesting SensorML, another XML request known as DescribeSensor has to be sent to SOS. In order to request Observation and Measurement data, GetObservation request has to be sent.

Figure 3 Snippet of SensorML for a Power Sensor

C. Observation and Measurement Observation and Measurement (O&M) is an XML document, which is sent by the SOS when user sends a GetObservation query as shown in Figure 2. All the sensor data requested by the user is sent in this format. The user needs to parse O&M document to retrieve the sensor data. SOS receives the request, accesses database, constructs O&M document with the data and sends out to the user as shown in Figure 4.



In this research project, we have developed a prototype application named “PowerPicket” based on OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) and Common Information Model (CIM) in Google Web Toolkit (GWT) [11]. The flow of data in the power picket application is shown in Figure 6. The utilities publish their data in CIM document of RDF format. The data published by the utilities is concentrated into a database with spatial extension after querying the CIM/RDF document with SPARQL queries. The database acts as a central repository of sensor data of the entire region, irrespective of the protocol used to acquire them.

Figure 4 SOS making Observation and Measurement Response



The ultimate goal of the power industry is to develop an automatic operator. Though the concept of automatic operator in power system does not seem to be viable with the current technologies, the use of highly interoperable sensor web will bring us one step closer towards achieving automation in the power industry. With the help of Sensor Web, the user can get the sensor data in standard predefined format for every possible sensor in the world. In addition to power sensors, other sensors such as, meteorological sensors, temperature sensors, etc, can be helpful monitoring stability of power system. All kinds of sensors systems can be easily blended in monitoring system with the help of SWE as shown in Figure 5. This versatility of sensor web would give the monitoring of power system a different paradigm.

Figure 6 Data flow in PowerPicket

The Sensor Observation Service (SOS) acts a broker between the user and the database, encapsulating the complexity of implementation of database in the PowerPicket. SOS hosts both the database and SensorMLs of power sensors. Whenever user sends a request for data, SOS handles query, creates a response with sensor data requested and sends out response to the requesting user. The user needs just to parse the response to obtain the requested data. In the client side of the PowerPicket, Google MapsTM has been used as a tool for the visualization of sensor location for effective decision making, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 5 Encapsulation of variety of sensors by SWE

Currently, Common Information Model (CIM) is commonly expressed as Resource Description Framework (RDF) [8]. With the introduction of Ontology Web Language (OWL) as a new format of expressing CIM, the immense possibility of knowledge representation of power industry has emerged [2]. RDF is a powerful expression language but it cannot handle complex knowledge such as cardinality and characteristics of properties [9]. OWL has been designed so that it would overcome the limitations posed by RDF. With the introduction of OWL as format for CIM, the rule languages such as Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL) can be used for semantic reasoning. The SWRL replaces the traditional rules for decision making, which combines horn like rules with OWL knowledge base of power system.
Figure 7 Visualization of Geo-location of Sensor in GoogleMaps

The PowerPicket is capable of subsetting data on the basis of spatial, temporal and value parameters as powered by SOS. The User Interface (UI), shown in Figure 8, is used for the spatial subsetting of sensor data. The UI is used to request the

data within a geographic boundary specified in the Google MapsTM. The PowerPicket creates a query with user’s specifications and sends to the SOS for retrieving data from database. Similar UIs are used for the other types of subsetting.

power industry cannot afford to revamp entire system for the sake of interoperability. In this paper, we discussed about using standards developed by OGC SWE and CIM standards for interoperability in power industry without interfering with the existing system for maximizing the return of the investment made by the industry. Sensor Web provides a universal way of communication with customizable data for each user. The data can be filtered with spatial, temporal, value and durational parameters. Using this property, the users can request just for the data, in which they are interested. With the introduction of Ontology Web Language (OWL) format to express CIM, we can embed reasoning systems such as, SWRL, making the reasoning more powerful than the traditional rules used as intelligence in decision making process. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Oak Ridge National Laboratory for funding for this research project.

Figure 8 User Interface for Spatial Subsetting

[1]. N. Dahal, V.M. Mohan, S.S. Durbha, A. Srivastava, R.L. King, N.H. Younan, N.N Schultz; Wide Area Monitoring using Common Information Model and Sensor Web, 2009 Power Systems Conference and Exposition, March 15-18, 2009, Seattle, Washington, USA. [2]. Mathias Uslar, Semantic Web Technologies for Power Grid Management, [3]. Ralph Mackiewicz, The impact of Standardized Models, Programming, Interfaces and Protocols on Substation, ocols%20White%20Paper%20and%20Presentation.pdf [4]. Sensor Web Enablement, http://www.opengeospatial/org/projects/ groups/sensorweb [5]. Distributed Management Task Force, Common Information Model (CIM) Standards, [6]. SPARQL Query Language for RDF, [7]. Stephen Quirolgico, Pedros Assis, Andrea Westerinen, Michael Baskey, Ellen Stokes, Towards a Formal Common Information Model Ontology, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 3307/2004, Pages 11-21. [8]. Resource Description Framework (RDF), [9]. Jay P. Britton, Arnold N. deVos, CIM based Standards and CIM Evolution, IEEE transaction on Power Systems VOL. 20, NO 2, MAY 2005 [10]. SWRL: A Semantic Web Rule Language Combining OWL and RuleML, [11]. Google Web Toolkit

The PowerPicket has an intelligent alert system, which would alert users for any contingency detected based on the offline analysis of sensor data specific to the topology of the system as shown in Figure 8. The offline analysis has always been the basis for the action plans for all the utilities, in case of an emergency. Each utility maintains a documentation of offline analysis, as its intelligence, for action plans to counter contingency. We have digitized the intelligence of offline analysis, so that same tested intelligence can be retrieved quickly. The alert system warns the user about possible hazard condition and a possible solution with appropriate icons overlaid over Google MapsTM as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 8 Alert System backed by offline analysis



With billions of dollars already invested in terms of software/hardware infrastructures and staff trainings, the