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How 3D Remote Sensing garners the accuracy in transmission lines mapping?


Following the trail of expanding landscape of power transmission line inspection, the power sector is wary of the complex geographical factors that pose a challenge. To add to this, the high-voltage and long-distance power lines need to be regularly inspected to cater to the ever-increasing global uninterrupted electricity utility. 

The traditional system of transmission lines inspection involved manual patrolling that has the disadvantage of low efficiency, less accuracy, safety and long-inspection cycle. This has given a platform for new technologies to map, inspect, analyse and process the data achieved for faults or line modelling. 

The conventional method also included an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), digital and infrared cameras and other devices mounted over the UAV to inspect the lines. However, this technology delivers scattered data that cannot accurately detect abnormalities. These devices also have a space restraint or precise mapping, when it comes to the enormous areas covered by modern transmission lines. 

This need for an efficient inspection of overhead high-voltage power lines paved a way for 3D Remote Sensing cutting-edge technology that can mitigate the former’s loopholes. To facilitate seamless, highly accurate mapping and analysis of power transmission lines, while eliminating the use of labour force for the strenuous task, 3D remote laser scanning is the most reliable extraction technology. 

A remote sensing payload system for power lines inspection usually incorporates a navigation system, datalogger and laser radar camera (LiDAR). This fusion has many operative advantages in the power transmission lines sector, as opposed to the traditional technology. 

How 3D Remote Sensing is Catering to Accurate Transmission Lines Surveying 

Power lines corridor usually includes the high-voltage towers, transmission wires, attachments such as insulators and various environmental objects like vegetation, buildings on the surface. The High-voltage towers are crucial to long-distance conductor support and also act as connector or turning-point to large-scale power resources deployment. 

These transmission lines are the source of electricity across the globe and need to be surveyed at a regular frequency to ensure an uninterrupted power supply. While there are various ways this survey can be done, what holds vitality in the power lines is accuracy and precision. 

To meet this requirement, 3D remote sensing, which uses a payload system and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology stands unmatched. The basic principle of remote sensing operates with a navigation payload instrument carrying the LiDAR, camera and other communication systems and the resultant works similar to a radar, but uses light waves instead of radio waves.

A 3D remote sensing instrument emits a laser beam on the surface of power transmission lines under mapping, and its sensors catch the reflected laser pulse. The instrument measures the time taken by the laser to travel back to its source while repeating the process a million times hence producing a 3D point cloud data of the surveyed area.

This aerial power line inspection system operates really fast and calculates the distance between sensors (LiDAR) and its target (power transmission lines or any obstruction on the surface) at a strong pace while maintaining high accuracy.

It incorporates a payload instrument which deploys an INS, camera, LiDAR and communication system. The inertial navigation system includes motion sensors, computer and rotation sensors to constantly map the orientation and velocity of moving objects. The entire unit allows for real time and post-processed generation of point cloud solutions. 

This power line surveying can detect various abnormalities or extract vital data such as:

  1. Power line sagging or tension issues.
  2. Surveying the area before planning for an increase in the power line capacity or redesigning to get an accurate picture of ground clearance and structural load.
  3. Ground vegetation affecting the power lines.
  4. Developing, upgrading or transmission lines inspection in the mountain region, where they are susceptible to harsh ground environmental conditions.

Serving the Hazardous Point Detection in Power Lines with 3D Remote Sensing

As per the Operational Regulations for Overhead Transmission Lines, there must be a standard distance between buildings, dangerous points or vegetation such as trees, and the power line. Unable to monitor and detect the hazardous points can lead to serious anomalies in the transmission lines. 

To detect the safe distance between the hazardous point on the ground and the corridor wires, the aerial 3D sensing instrument maps the point cloud data accurately and efficiently. It is essentially pivotal in areas with harsh environmental conditions such as mountains, snow-covered land or winter season, where transmission line inspection and dangerous point detection is a huge challenge. 

A 3D remote sensing aerial instrument can precisely and automatically scan the power lines for obstruction or dangerous points according to the safety norms and provide data for calculation. It is beneficial for both regular inspection and up-gradation for high-capacity power lines. 

Safety is considered to be the prime factor while using an aerial payload instrument equipped with LiDAR as opposed to the traditional method of manual inspection. Transmission lines are sensitive areas with high-voltage power wires. Human intervention, whether for regular inspection or planning an upgrade is considered dangerous on safety grounds, which a remote aerial inspection is not vulnerable to. 


Processing and Analysing the Point Cloud Data with 3D Remote Sensing

The 3D remote sensing aerial instrument provides the 3D spatial point cloud data by scanning the power transmission lines for obstruction. It also sends information on grid elevation, density, colour and echo intensity. This data has to be analysed and processed for further investigation in the transmission lines. 

But this collected data cannot be directly browsed or converted for processing in software. The process requires multiple spatial point coordinate system conversion calculations. 


Advantages of using 3D Remote Sensing over Traditional Method for Power Transmission lines

  • Highly accurate mapping technique, particularly in harsh weather or environmental conditions
  • Less-time consuming and low-risk methodology
  • Cost-effective in the long-run
  • Can scan wider areas with consistent precision
  • Streamlines the planning activities for power lines inspection and expansion
  • Adheres to the safety norms and does not lead to human-related accidents


How Bestech Australia drives the Complete 3D Remote Sensing Solution

Bestech Australia provides a completely modular payload system for complete 3D remote sensing. It allows for one-click processing as well as real-time data output from the payload to assist in machine learning and localized mapping algorithm development. 

This entirely customizable system is built to fuel projects where 3D mapping is required with high point cloud accuracy, precision and best price/performance solution during the power line inspection.

This technology is well-equipped to reduce labour intensity while saving on working hours and improving working efficiency. It can thoroughly scan the over-head transmission lines through laser point cloud acquisition to obtain spatial information on the surface, line corridor, the characteristic features and defects associated with them. 

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