Airborne Laser Scanning for Existing Power Line Upgrade or New Route Design

Updated: Sep 10

Among the many difficulties facing engineers when upgrading existing distribution

lines or designing new lines the landscape often provides its share of challenges to

overcome. Upon the commencement of each project or prospecting exercise up-to-

date spatial information is the key to efficient and accurate analysis and decision

making. Ground surveying is often difficult and costly and made more demanding by

the fluid nature of route design caused by topographic or political obstacles. Satellite

imagery and mapping may be timely but the accuracy will not be sufficient for the

design stages. Airborne laser scanning (a.k.a. Airborne LiDAR) provides an in-

between solution suitable for medium to large scale projects.

Aerial surveying is widely accepted as a means of fast and accurate data acquisition

and permits applications from phase one route selection through to detailed design of

new or upgraded networks. Equipment such as LiDAR with integrated camera

systems enable very accurate, very detailed surveying but also has its limitations.

This paper reports on the techniques and challenges of airborne laser scanning,

outlining the major benefits while identifying certain issues.

The paper then explains a couple of practicable applications where an experienced

line designer has used LiDAR data to achieve accurate computer line modelling

analysis. One application describes the effective use of LiDAR in a new line

establishment process. The other application describes a process where LiDAR is

effectively used to create an accurate model of an existing line where clearance

violations are found and mitigated or where an increased electrical loading is desired

for the line and legal clearance requirements are analysed.

-Jeremy Neilson, and Edward Hardie

Full report can be downloaded below:

Download • 3.36MB

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