YMS Uses Laser and Aerial Scanning to Increase Safety of Electrical Networks

14th April 2016 -

Safety of electricity transmission and distribution is affected by a scale of hardly predictable factors. External overhead lines with different voltages are imperiled by growing vegetation, extreme temperatures, climate changes as well as material aging itself. Wires change their mechanical properties over time – which can cause for example dangerously low deflection or even breakage of wiring. Network operators regularly check the state of wiring, but it is a complex process considering that there are tens of thousands kilometers of wires throughout Slovakia.

Innovative methods of data collection and evaluation – laser scanning (LiDAR) and aerial photogrammetry can bring about faster and more accurate control processes and thus also the subsequent maintenance planning. "With laser scanning we collect highly accurate geo-referenced points (ie. point cloud) to create a digital elevation model. Subsequently, we identify objects interfering into the protective networks corridor and we assess the current state of the wires, terrain and vegetation below them,” explains the way of using the technology for companies operating networks Miroslav Holubec, YMS Director for Research and Innovation Projects.

In a pilot project for Západoslovenská distribučná company, team YMS obtained and processed data about the position and characteristics of electric poles and power lines around Trenčín. “It is crucial for us to implement measures, which will prevent exceeding the standard established norms and will avoid compromising wires and potentially-harming people moving underneath. Digital elevation models help us to perform additional measurements, monitor vegetation growth or identify anomalies - buildings located near power lines and poles or places where vegetation extends to the wiring protected zone of wiring,” tells Karol Vörös, Head of the Network Management Section in Západoslovenská distribučná.

LiDAR obtains data more accurately, throughout a larger area and faster compared to similar terrestrial measurements. “The technology also works during darkness or in opaque areas which are hidden under vegetation. It recognizes not only massive trunked conductor transmission lines, but also thinner wire distribution lines. It helps to reliably detect the type of tower, and at towers with higher voltage levels detects even details, such as walls frame assembly and insulator chains,” analyze technology specialty for electricity networks Miroslav Holubec.

Team YMS already successfully used LiDAR and aerial photogrammetry in several interesting projects - for example to analyze the Vrátna area after a landslide in 2014 or to identify aspects of an archaeological site around Smolenice-Molpír.

Illustration photo YMS.