Electric Utility

Gateway South – 500-kV transmission line
Project location: Wyoming – Colorado – Utah
Project size: 1,800 plus route miles and 2 miles in width
Services / products: Specification development & PLS-CAD delivery
DEM acquisition & 4-band (RGB/IR) imagery and ortho-photos
Next steps: Airborne LiDAR and high resolution imagery in PLS-CAD

Gateway South is a major interstate 500-kV transmission line program extending between Medicine Bow, Wyoming to Mona, Utah through NW Colorado, designed to improve transport capacity of renewable and thermal energy from planned sources in Wyoming.

The project location, conditions and timing of the program posed many issues to be addressed to support the analysis of alternative routes for consideration and eventual construction. Accurate terrain data, high-resolution imagery and environmental data were required to begin the route study effort and questionable weather conditions and winter was approaching soon.

Spatial Intel was contacted by a power engineering company to seek an alternative to the current proposal they had for nearly 1.5 MM dollars and 10-months to complete an aerial route survey of the more than 1,800 linear miles and two miles in width. (Several alternative routes passed over the continental divide.) We knew the keys to success included:

Minimize the traditional and arduous ground control surveys and incorporate high-order GPS base stations and airborne GPS / IMU positioning to get the aircraft in the air ASAP.

Use a large payload twin-turbo aircraft to enable leapfrogging large mountainous expanses to capture isolated areas where and when weather breaks

Begin data / image processing of each days capture in PLS-CAD within 24-hours to feed the engineer with constant data.

We were required to re-mobilize and collect several add-on alternative routes considered after the initial survey. Having a network of strategically located and available aerial resources allowed us to shorten mobilization distances and reduce delivery time and cost.

In summary, Spatial Intel and our network of resources drawn from CloudMap enabled us to complete the entire project in 10-weeks (in lieu of 10 months) and complete the work for half the cost of their other proposal for aerial. (This included the infrared bands not included in the other proposal.)

Route selection is underway and Phase II including airborne LiDAR and high-resolution imagery is tentatively scheduled for late 2013. We look forward to providing this data and continuing contributions to the success of this very challenging and rewarding program.

NERC – Transmission Line rating survey
Project location: Various 500, 230 & 115 kV routes throughout Georgia
Project size: 1,200 plus transmission route miles
Services / products: LiDAR point classification, image processing and PLS-CAD .BAK file

Spatial Intel is currently in its third year of a 3-year contract to process in excess 1,200 miles of airborne LiDAR and 3-inch color imagery for creation of 3-dimensional as-built surveys of existing 500kv, 230kv and 115kv transmission line facilities and right of way features to support max operating temperature determination.

Working with helicopter based 25 points per square meter LiDAR data we are filtering to a bare earth surface for generation of a TIN model and alignment profiles, and classifying suspended objects inclusive of main conductor (all phases), crossings, under build, attach points, guys and more.

Mapping of physical objects include classification of buildings, roads, railroads, bridges, structures, distribution, vegetation and more.

Classification includes more than 70 individual feature types that are formatted, imported into PowerLine Systems CADD (PLS-CAD), and then exported as a .BAK file for delivery to the client.

Consulting for State of Washington
Project location: Washington State
Project services: Subject matter expert – LiDAR / Remote Sensing education

The local utility in Washington has recently contracted for aerial imagery and LiDAR to support the NERC line rating requirement as well as support other internal programs including vegetation and ROW management.

During the process of requesting, procuring and taking delivery of the data they realized they needed confirmation on what they had received from the selected vendor, and the quality / accuracy of the data.

With limited internal knowledge of the technologies they contract Spatial Intel to give a half/day technical session technology, terminology, uses/ applications and more. The large group presented many insightful and inquisitive questions that were addressed in detail, leaving the utility with increased confident and information to seek procurement of LiDAR more effectively. After the session we scrutinized the data provided an industry vendor to determine specification compliance which yielded additional concerns:

The specification needed considerable attention to better specify the needed data

The data proved was adequate to satisfy by the internal programs however the “loose” specification allowed little room to question some of the miss-classified data.

The follow-up involved Spatial Intel contributing key information to include in a revised specification to facilitate more consistent and applicable proposals and well described QC compliance and deliverables going forward.