An Introduction to Linear Assets

Linear is an add-on to Maximo in Maximo 7.6.x but becomes part of Maximo licensing when existing clients convert to AppPoints under a Maximo Application Suite license. Since v7.1 it has been a part of all Maximo installations but turned-on when a license key is applied. For a Maximo 7.6 client the Linear add-on exists, but without the license you cannot see it.

A road, a pipeline, a railroad track, or electric transmission lines are all examples of linear assets where the Maximo linear add-on can be used. Linear Assets are needed when a defect needs to be recorded, work performed, or meter readings taken at a measured point or span along the linear asset.

The linear functionality in Maximo crosses several applications. A linear asset or linear segment can be displayed on a map through Maximo Spatial, but this will not be covered in these articles. 

Linear Applications

The Assets application is where the majority of linear functionality will be found and is where a linear asset is defined. Linear functionality also exists in several other Maximo applications:

  • Relationships are used to create a relationship between linear assets and between linear assets and non-linear assets and locations. For example, one railway track intersects with another railway track to allow trains to cross lines.
  • Features are used to define the type of physical objects found along a linear asset, both point features and linear features. A Mile Post on a road is a point feature, a Guard Rail is a linear feature.
  • Preventive Maintenance records reference the position along a linear asset where work or an inspection is planned to take place at a set frequency. Seasonality is common when working on linear assets.
  • Routes are often used with a linear asset where the route stops define the point assets or features or segments of linear assets where work will be performed.
  • Condition Monitoring records define where on a linear asset a measurement or observation is made. An asset meter defines where on the linear asset a meter is defined.
  • Service Requests are used to define where on a linear asset a service is needed, this may be a point or a linear segment. The Create Service Request application can be used by self-service users, the View Service Request application is also updated with linear information.
  • Work Order Tracking application has linear information on the header of the work order, and on the Multiple Assets, Locations and CIs table. Linear progress reporting is also made on the records in the Multiple Assets, Locations and CI table. The Quick Reporting application has similar capability.
  • Classifications has a couple of linear attribute fields defined on the Class Specification table and there is a feature for linking one classification attribute with another which is used with linear assets.

As you can see there is quite a lot to Linear Assets, and it will be split into several articles. The functionality in the Assets application will be spread across multiple articles.

A Linear Glossary

TermDescription
Linear AssetAn asset where length plays a critical part in determining where maintenance work is performed.
Linear ReferencingDetermines a point along a linear asset in three axis x, y (left is -ve, right is +ve), and z (below is -ve, above is +ve). 
Linear Referencing Method (LRM)A name given to a method where absolute or relative measures can determine a point along a linear asset. In Maximo terms this requires unit of measures to be provided for the three axis and labels used to identify where the Y and Z measures are derived from.
FeatureA type of physical object which will be used on a linear asset, and which is supported by the Features application in Maximo.
Asset FeatureAn instance of a feature type, a physical object on a linear asset, but not an asset in Maximo. Linear Assets have features, for example, a Mile Post or a Guard Rail on a road. Maintenance costs are tracked against the linear asset and not the feature of the linear asset.
Reference PointAn Asset Feature that has known absolute measures from the start of the linear asset that can then be used with offsets to position other features, assets, work, and meters.
MeasureAn absolute measure from the start of the linear asset. When entering linear segment details, you will enter or have calculated both a start measure and an end measure, when they are the same it is a point, when they are different it is a linear segment.
OffsetThe distance from a reference point on a linear asset. The Y offset is the distance to the left or right of the designated reference, the Z offset is the distance above or below the designated reference.
Linear SegmentA continuous span of a linear asset defined by a start measure and end measure that is within or the same length of the linear asset.
Point AssetAn asset that exists at a point along the linear asset and which is related to it.
AttributeThe attribute of a linear asset or a segment of a linear asset is recorded in the Asset’s Specification. The attribute of a point feature or a linear feature is recorded in the Asset Feature’s Specification.
RelationshipA relationship between the linear asset, and another linear asset, a point asset or a location.

The Linear Articles

  1. An Introduction – This article introduces a reader to Maximo Linear Assets, identifies the applications where linear assets play a part, provides a glossary of terms, and describes the first steps in defining a linear asset in the Assets application.
  2. Features – This article will take a reader through the Features application but will also describe some changes made in the Classifications application to support linear assets and features.
  3. Asset Features – This article uses features on a linear asset in the Features tab on the Assets application and includes the asset feature’s specification.
  4. Asset Specifications – This article explores the Specifications tab on the Assets application.
  5. Relationships – This article explores Relationships needed for linear assets and how they are used in the Relationships tab of the Assets application.
  6. Service Requests – This article shows how a linear asset is used in the Service Requests application, and in the Create/View Service Requests applications.
  7. Routes and PMs – This article explores the changes to the Routes and Preventive Maintenance applications to support Linear Assets.
  8. Work Orders – This article reviews the changes in the Work Order Tracking application to support Linear Assets, but it does not include meters and meter readings.
  9. Meters – This article returns to the Assets application to see how meters are supported on Linear Assets.
  10. Condition Monitoring – The article covers Linear Asset changes on the Condition Monitoring application including how to generate work orders, which includes settings in Organizations and Cron Task Setup applications. The article finishes with Meter Readings on the Work Order Tracking application.
  11. Recalibration – The last article covers modifications to asset features in the Assets application that are reference points. If the measures for the asset features are changed then this effects the measures on asset attributes, asset meters, PMs, Routes, etc, that have used that reference point. There may also be other assets and features that have used the reference point, and those features may themselves have been a reference point which has been used by other data records. Recalibration is the propagation of measurement adjustments through all the non-transactional records involved with linear assets. 

Defining a Linear Asset

List Tab

One of the first things that you might notice when Linear has just been installed is that the Linear (ISLINEAR) field is added to the List tab of the Assets application. In the MAXDEMO database there are examples for both roads and rail, but I will use the roads of I-95N and I-95S. I think it best to show Linear with the data from the MAXDEMO database rather than just creating new data as that should allow you to follow along as well without having to create a lot of data.

Assets Tab

When you traverse into the main tab of a linear asset, at the top is the checkbox to identify the asset as a linear asset. 

When you create a new linear asset, you may be faced with a couple of error messages before you can save the asset:

  • BMXAA6141E – Linear assets require a default Linear Referencing Method (LRM).
  • BMXAA6220E – Please provide a start and end measure for this linear asset.

If you tried to uncheck the Linear field, you may get the message “BMXAA6142E – Asset must remain linear because it has a start measure or an end measure.”. At some later point the Linear checkbox becomes read-only.

Notice that the Linear functionality provides an additional tab called Features.

If you use the parent or location fields they will probably be used for organizational or financial reasons. For example, to help find the linear asset through the drilldown, to identify responsibility, or to roll-up costs. A Rotating Item wouldn’t be used with a linear asset. There’s nothing stopping this from what I could find, but I couldn’t think of a business reason to do so.

Scrolling down there is a section for Linear Referencing Details and it is this section you need to fill-in so that you can save a new linear asset.

The Linear Referencing Method (LRM) must be defined first. In the example for linear asset I-95N – Interstate 95 Northbound, it has an LRM of MILEPOINT. The Start Measure is 0.00 with a description of DC-VA Line. The End Measure is 109.70 with a description of DE Line. The Direction field is used to give a general indication of the direction of the linear asset, NORTH in this case, this is supported by the Synonym domain LINEARDIRECTION. What this section is doing is providing the length of the linear asset and a description of the start and end points, in this case state boundaries. You could be traversing the linear asset in two directions and so you do need to indicate the direction, in this case going north through Maryland from Washington DC/ Virginia state line up to the Delaware state line. The I-95 starts in Florida and goes through Delaware all the way up to Maine, so this is a segment of the physical linear asset.

When an asset is marked as being linear you will not be able to make it non-linear, you will receive the error message “BMXAA6142E – Asset must remain linear because it has a start measure or an end measure.”. If you remove the Start and End Measure and then try to save you will get the error message “BMXAA6220E – Please provide a start and end measure for this linear asset.”. When a feature has been added to the linear asset the Linear checkbox will become read-only.

You can modify the Start and End Measures of the linear asset. 

  • If the change means that a feature now exists outside of the linear asset you will receive the error message “BMXAA6197E – Feature MP that exists from Start Measure 5 to End Measure 5 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 0. Please remove the Feature MP or change the proposed measures.”
  • If the change means that a relationship now exists outside of the linear asset you will receive the error message “BMXAA6198E – Relationship CARRIES that exists from Source Start Measure 5 to Source End Measure 5 and exists from Target Start Measure 0 to Target End Measure 0 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 0. Please remove the relationship CARRIES or change the proposed measures.”
  • If the change means that a specification attribute now exists outside of the linear asset you will receive the error message “BMXAA6321E – Specification SPEED that exists from Start Measure 0 to End Measure 8 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 6. Please remove the specification SPEED or change the proposed measures.”
  • If the change means that a work order now exists outside of the linear asset you will receive the error message “BMXAA6322E – WORKORDER that exists from Start Measure 0 to End Measure 10 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 8. Please remove the WORKORDER or change the proposed measures.” You will still get this message if the work order is cancelled (status of CAN). See note below on Linear Options.
  • If the change means that a service request now exists outside of the linear asset you will receive the error message “BMXAA6322E – SR that exists from Start Measure 0 to End Measure 10 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 8. Please remove the SR or change the proposed measures.” Notice this is the same error message number as for a work order, and it is using the work order or ticket record classes. See note below on Linear Options.

Organizations – Asset Options – Linear Options

In the Organizations application and action Asset Options there is a section of the dialog called Linear Options. The top checkbox – Ignore history work orders on Start/End change? – when checked influences the validation for both work orders and service requests.

  • The message “BMXAA6322E – SR that exists from Start Measure 0 to End Measure 10 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 8. Please remove the SR or change the proposed measures.” is displayed when there is a service request that references a part of the linear asset that would no longer be within the new measures and the “Ignore history work orders on Start/End change” is unchecked.
    • For example, a linear asset from measure 0 to 10 miles where there is a service request at NEW status for the whole length of the linear asset produces the error message when you try to reduce the end measure of the linear asset to 6 miles and “Ignore history work orders on Start/End change?” is unchecked. If this setting is checked, you can now modify the measure.
  • The message “BMXAA6322E – WORKORDER that exists from Start Measure 0 to End Measure 10 lies outside the boundaries of the proposed Asset’s Start Measure 0 and End Measure 8. Please remove the WORKORDER or change the proposed measures.” is displayed when there are open work orders that references a part of the linear asset that would no longer be within the new measures, but if you cancel or close those work orders the message disappears allowing you to change the Start or End Measure.
    • For example, a linear asset from measure 0 to 10 miles where there is a work order at WAPPR status for the whole length of the linear asset produces the error message when you try to reduce the end measure of the linear asset to 6 miles and “Ignore history work orders on Start/End change?” is unchecked. If this setting is checked, you will still receive the error message. However, if you cancel the work order (CAN) you can now modify the End Measure.

Note. There is a difference between the handling of Service Requests or Work Orders. When the Asset Options parameter is checked for work orders you will need to place them in history before changing Start/End Measures, for Service Requests you do not need to put them into history, this will allow you to modify the Service Requests perhaps changing the linear asset if, for example, a linear asset is being split.

Note. If there are Service Requests or Work Orders that reference the linear asset but exist outside of its new length, then these will not be shown in the Linear Visual Control as this is being filtered by the Start and End Measures of the linear asset. In my opinion it is best to have the Asset Options checkbox left unchecked until you have procedures in place to make sure that work orders and service requests that make references beyond the new linear measure are adjusted or moved into history before changing the Start or End Measure.

Add/Modify Linear Referencing Methods

The Action Add/Modify Linear Referencing Methods is available from the List tab and the method you are going to use must be set up first. You’ll also need to define the unit of measures that you wish to use and any conversions.

For the LRM of MILEPOINT – Absolute measure in miles, the following field values were used:

  • Unit of Measure – MILES – The unit of measure for the x-axis.
  • Base Unit of Measure – MILES – This unit of measure can be used to provide conversion to another unit, for example km, but it is normally set the same as Unit of Measure, and it is defaulted from the Unit of Measure field.
  • Offset Unit of Measure – FEET – The unit of measure used from the start of the linear asset to the first reference point and from the end reference point to the end of the linear asset.
  • Y-Offset Unit of Measure – FEET – The unit of measure used to find a point to the left or right of the linear asset.
  • Z-Offset Unit of Measure – FEET – The unit of measure used to find a point above or below the linear asset.
  • Y Reference – MIDLINE – The reference point name in the y-axis from which measurements in the y-axis are made. The field is supported by the ALN domain YOFFSETREF.
  • Z Reference – SURFACE – The reference point name in the z-axis from which measurements in the z-axis are made. The field is supported by the ALN domain ZOFFSETREF.

A mile point is a post in the ground indicating the distance from a given point. Sometimes it may be the distance to a given point.

You will need to define the unit of measures which you can do from the action Add/Modify Units of Measure. If you use two units of measure you will need to also create a conversion which you can do from the action Add/Modify Conversions. These actions will be found in the action menu called Unit of Measure and Conversion.

In the example, the Conversion Factor from MILES to FEET is 5,280, the number of feet in a mile.

If you tried to add a Base Unit of Measure of KM when the Unit of Measure was MILES, then you may receive the error message “BMXAA1785E – A conversion does not exist between unit of measure MILES and KM.”.