Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been trying to update its GIS for about 20 years, but the data is not as complete and update as it might be per a San Francisco Chronicle investigation. Among the datapoints missing: that a 1956-vintage pipeline, had a seam. That piece of pipe exploded in San Bruno on Sept. 9, killing eight people due to a weld on that seam.

Experts say the fact the pipe had a seam weld is a fundamental piece of information that should have been available with the click of a mouse on any decent pipeline database.

The National Transportation Safety Board is scrutinizing PG&E's data system as part of its investigation of the tragedy. Federal investigators want to know why a defective seam weld festered to the point of breaking while PG&E didn't even know it existed.

The investigation focuses on data that was not transferred from paper or is simply unnavailable and challenges with the softwaresystem (Esri) as multiple updates were made over the years.

- SF Chronicle via Montery Herald