Transmission Line Mapping

The management of transmission corridors is complex and costly. Public utilities are under pressure to not only keep power flowing, but must also stay vigilant to maintain their infrastructure in compliance with regulatory agencies.

AeroMetric has mapped thousands of miles of transmission line, providing aerial mapping solutions that include ground topography, existing conditions in the right-of-way (ROW), vegetation baselines and encroachments, access road conditions, adjacent land use updates, and the detection of potentially hazardous trees outside the ROW. Aerial solutions are often far more efficient than on-the-ground surveys, quickly pinpointing areas where ground teams need to go in for a closer look.

We can capture every transmission tower, line and line hardware item along a 50-100 mile corridor in a single day. We can deliver LiDAR, photogrammetry, orthophotography and 3D oblique images, as well as PLS-CADD™ documentation. What you receive is a fully dimensioned 3D model of the ROW that depicts topography, vegetation, all structures, and all lines. Bring in our Enterprise GIS services and your management of this data is simplified. Couple this with an agreement to conduct annual reflights, and your cost savings improve yet again—compared to annual ground inspections.

Vegetation Management 

NERC FAC-003-1 Compliance

The North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) FAC-003-1 Standard was designed to prevent line outages. AeroMetric provides accurate reporting of field conditions, with our team members using PLS-CADD™ to model the lines and towers under various weather conditions. The value of our services become apparent when compared to non-compliance fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars per day.

Vegetation Management

Some outages are unforeseeable, and some can be prevented. The preventable outages are related to proactive corridor and line management. Keeping vegetation in check as well as keeping lines, towers, and hardware in good condition are the keystones of such a management program. NERC regulatory requirements and vegetation management place a cost burden on the power utility. A cost effective solution is to rely on aerial mapping and imagery services, supplemented by ground crews.

Deliverables

Our maps, aerial photographs, orthoimagery, and line profiles have multiple uses: They can (a) guide utility corridor maintenance crews, (b) assist engineering design teams with on-the-ground operations, and (c) be included with bid packages for potential contractors. The level of detail of each map will depend on the need. We can layer in ground contours, structural outlines, spot heights, street names, paths, boundaries, tax parcel information, and show natural features such as rivers and lakes. We can depict and annotate critical areas such as wetlands, buffer zones, and sensitive habitats.

Orthophotographs are scalable photographs, a valuable tool that enables transmission owners, engineers, and contractors to accurately measure distances on the images. When multiple data sets are required, we can multi-task—simultaneously collecting different data sets, such as LiDAR point clouds and visual imagery. The imagery can be oblique photography, digital pin-points, mosaicked orthophotos, infrared, or a video record. Data will be delivered in client requested formats, including in electronic and PDF hard copies.

Tower & Conductor Existing Conditions

There are multiple approaches to capturing existing conditions.

  • LiDAR can depict line profiles and tower details.
  • Photogrammetry and orthophotography can capture corridor topography and conditions.
  • Oblique photographic images (a) allow ground crews to see the towers and corridor conditions in "3D" prior to getting on site, and also (b) guide them once they commence field operations.
  • Potentially hazardous trees can be identified using our field condition data coupled with a PLS-CADD™ assessment of maximum sag and wind sway conditions.
  • These reports can be supplemented with orthoimagery identifying Category 1, 2, and 3 conditions within a client-defined swath.
  • PLS-CADD™ can show a dynamic as-built, assessing the effects of different weather conditions including wind, ice buildup, and thermal sag parameters.
  • PLS-CADD™ can also label structural and line elements per the client's specifications.

High Accuracy Solutions for Existing Conditions Line Data

Our helicopters capture data at an altitude between 500 to 800 feet, and can collect 50-100 linear miles of line each day. Accuracies down to 1-inch are achievable. Circuit miles vary, 4-5 circuits per corridor are not unusual. This assists with the accuracy of the deliverables. We can zoom-in on the insulators and attachment points to capture close detail. In addition, we provide concomitant, real-time weather station information. The AeroMetric team operates mission platforms fitted with Leica ALS70, Optech Gemini and Riegl full waveform sensors, digital cameras, and videography equipment.

Enterprise GIS Services

Bring in Enterprise GIS and you can create a sophisticated database with the ability to identify, locate, and label all of the power utility provider’s assets including power generation plants, transmission lines, and substations. This can be an overview, or extremely detailed. By coordinating with on-the-ground crews, we can inventory and capture assets down to the level of individual meter boxes, depicting the exact location and identification of each in-the-field element, its code and part number, when it was installed, serviced, and replaced. This inventory of assets can be collected both numerically and visually. If the utility has an up-to-date GIS we can supplement it with aerial visual and mapping data to improve line maintenance, construction planning, and rapid power restoration responses. The GIS can also support load and engineering studies for multiple uses, including NERC compliance. GIS is a superior operational tool with great potential for cost savings. Our enterprise GIS group will work with your team to add value and ease of use to the task of complex data management.

Corridor Mapping for New & Upgraded Lines

Fixed wing aircraft collect approximately 40 linear miles of line per day, while flying at an altitude of 800 to 1200 feet. This platform is most suited to corridor planning, engineering design, and construction of new or upgraded lines, where the precision afforded by lower altitude flights is not required. Accuracies between 3-6 inches are typical. These deliverables support design iterations, allowing for designs to be checked against different criteria in PLS-CADD™ to identify the optimal route alignment, tower placement, and tower elevations.

Emergency Management

The pressure is on during and after a storm. Damage assessment and rapid power restoration is demanded. AeroMetric can support on the ground teams with rapid appraisal of line conditions, both high voltage backbone lines and low voltage pole-to-pole assessments. These can include damaged equipment, hazardous conditions, and downed tree assessments. In an emergency scenario, we can be airborne within hours of your call, capturing data to support power restoration teams, and thus limiting the potential for regulatory fines.

On-Going Support

When you engage AeroMetric for on-going services we will sit down with you to devise a complete solution for transmission line management. This can include the regular collection of data to support NERC compliance and audits. We will capture data along your transmission rights-of-way, according to a pre-planned audit schedule. This will include capturing line and tower conditions, as well as clearances of vegetation and other hazards.
Before commencing services we will work with you to create a report format to best suit your requirements, meeting your own standards, as well as any national, state or local compliance that you might require. And we will then populate it with data after each monitoring cycle to keep your operations teams fully up-to-date. With AeroMetric’s technology at your side, you can stay in compliance and keep the power flowing. 

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