grid-IE (Interactive Explorer)

grid-IE is a next-generation power grid visualization tool designed to support multiple business practices in an electric utility organization. Based on Common Information Model (CIM), it consolidates the information from various sources and enables users to visualize the power grid and its operations from different perspectives and in various details.

grid-IE is aimed to overcome some of the common shortcomings of the existing grid visualization applications on the market. These legacy applications, built with the proprietary technologies, are not interoperable with the utility information infrastructure and are difficult to extend. Most importantly, the legacy grid visualization tools focus on displaying the data rather than providing users with an interactive ability to facilitate information exploration.

One of the supported use cases involves helping power grid operators perform mission-critical tasks in a control center environment. Integrated with the existing utility information systems based on industry standards, grid-IE displays the grid operation information, including field measurements, analytical results, alarms, and identified outages on the dynamically generated schematic and geographical diagrams at a real-time speed. It is aimed to provide system operators critical decision-support, assisting them to perceptually monitor the grid operation, identify harmful threats to grid, and enable effective actions.

grid-IE is funded by US Department of Energy (DOE) under the awarded SBIR Grant (Award No. DE-SC0006347).



Unlike the legacy grid visualization tools which restrict the visualization process to follow a limited number of pre-defined patterns created by human designers, grid-IE relies on powerful data manipulation algorithms to create visualizations based on the empirically or mathematically derived data. The applied data driven approach enables the dynamical creation of visual presentations on demand, therefore, unleashing the power of visualization.

More specifically, grid-IE leverages various data-driven techniques, such as pattern-recognition, data mining, etc., aimed at fostering the scientific understanding and insight. For example, one of the applied data-driven visualization techniques is called query-driven visualization, which combines the data management technology with the interactive visualization technique and enables users to limit the visualization to the “interesting” data. It is well suited for performing analysis on datasets which are both large and highly complex.

Key Features

Data-Driven Visualization

Built upon CIM, grid-IE supports interactive visualization of power grids. A variety of data-driven techniques are applied to auto-generate the high-quality schematic one-line diagrams, enabling users to visualize the power system’s physical and electrical configurations at various levels and from different perspectives.

Wide-Area Visualization

grid-IE enables users to visualize the power grid and its operation over a a large area on a geographical map. It leverages the cutting-edge multi-resolution and multi-scale rendering techniques to avoid information overload while still enabling users to find highly detailed information.

Integrated Grid Visualization

One of the key differentiators of grid-IE results from its seamless integration of data from various sources. By combining geographical information from GIS with real-time data from EMS, the resulting geo-schematic diagrams enable system operators to monitor the power system operation over a wide geographical region.

Visualization for Situational Awareness

grid-IE offers even-driven visualization capabilities to help grid operators perceptually monitor grid operation in a real-time environment. In response to an overwhelming number of events during an emergency, it shifts operators’ focus to critical state changes, thus reducing cognitive demands on grid operators.

Visual Data Mining

Leveraging the state-of-the-art visualization techniques, grid-IE delivers the cutting-edge look-and-feel and rich user experience to help users explore the grid intuitively and interactively, seeking useful information from large volume of data.

Standard-Based Diagram Exchange

grid-IE supports schematic or geographical diagram exchange based on IEC CIM standards, enabling users to import diagrams from other systems or export diagrams from grid-IE.

Some of the geographical and schematic diagrams in this Web page were created using a sample CIM test model prepared by Open Grid Systems.