Pole-top photography and LiDAR

Helicopter flying

We use pole-top photography and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology on board helicopters to regularly survey our network of 20,000km overhead lines and 264,000 poles.

Pole-top photography involves flying over our network and using GPS coordinates to take high resolution digital photographs of overhead lines, poles and associated equipment.

For LiDAR, a sensor mounted on the bottom of a helicopter measures how long it takes a laser to travel to the ground and return to the sensor, and then uses the information to render a 3D model of our network.

Both technologies allow us to assess the condition of our network, check for defects, and monitor vegetation that has the potential to grow into lines.

It’s an efficient and effective way to monitor the condition of our assets, identify potential issues and resolve them before they cause harm or outages.

 

Our next pole-top photography project is taking place from November 2021 to January 2022

Click here for details, or to contact us if you have any questions. 

 

FAQs

Per Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements, the helicopter will only be flying in open air space. That means it will fly above 1,000 feet in urban areas, and above 500 feet in rural areas.

Your privacy will not be impacted by our survey work. We are only taking photos of our poles and crossarms, not residential properties. The photos are for internal asset assessment purposes only and are held in a secure location. Here is an example of the type of photos taken:

3D LiDAR image of overhead line and pole

There are a few reasons we don't use drones:

  • drones available on the commercial market are not big enough to support the equipment required to carry out the type of work we're doing.

  • drones lack the ability to provide us with the quality and range of photographs we require to assess our assets.

  • drones can only last for a short period in the air before they need to be charged. It would require someone to travel with it on the ground across the network, which would be inefficient. A helicopter can run for several hours and cover much greater distances.

Aethon Aerial Solutions, who will contract local pilots to carry out the work.

Latest project update

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
From November 2021 we’ll be surveying and photographing up to 40,000 rural poles in our electricity network.

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