It's nice to be in the news. The following is from geodatapoint. Thanks!
Faster Safer Cheaper Inventories for Electric Utilities by Linda Duffy
Field workers in the utilities industry periodically have to do inventories of everything related to a utility pole: what is attached to the pole, how high up the attachments are on the pole, how low the wires are sagging, and how close vegetation or other hazards are to the poles and wires. This type of audit can involve communications, electricity and cable equipment. With 160 million telephone poles in the U.S., that translates into a lot of time, effort and money.
Over time, poles are stressed by wind, ice, and the weight of wires; loading assessments determine whether the pole is at risk of failing. Utilities are increasingly aware that preventive maintenance is more cost effective than making repairs after a storm has knocked out power for thousands of homes and businesses. Added pressure has come from the U.S. federal government, which has mandated maintenance programs for high voltage lines and imposed hefty fines for non-compliance. Utilities are attempting to “storm-harden” the most crucial portions of the distribution system to better withstand hurricanes and other weather-related hazards, and to comply with regulations.
Using traditional methods, including a laser finder, GPS equipment, measurement rods and a digital camera, a two-person crew is able to collect data for about 20 poles per day. Collecting information on thousands of poles can take months unless you have unlimited staff and equipment. Field work can also be dangerous due to the close proximity to traffic, and errors can be made in the transcription process back in the office.
To alleviate these problems, an all-in-one handheld unit has been developed by ikeGPS, a mobile GIS solutions provider based in Wellington, New Zealand. “ikeGPS addresses the largest hurdles that utilities face in their field work,” explained Ron Elsis, vice president product management at ikeGPS. “We have simplified the process by combining high accuracy real-time GPS, a laser range finder, a digital camera, a 3D compass, and measurement and workflow software in one tool. By implementing a remote data collection solution, productivity increases, safety of field crews improves, and 100 percent electronic data ensures accurate measurements and photo-verifiable results.”
A suite of software relates specifically to electric utility applications, such as pole audits and vegetation management, as well as applications in other industries. For example, high consequence areas (HCA) along gas pipelines often need to be monitored for vegetation encroachments or other hazards. The remote data collection capability allows crews to measure targets without needing to access private property or difficult terrain.
CN Utility Consulting, headquartered in Sebastopol, California, tested the ikeGPS technology on a right-of-way tree assessment project that required determining GPS location and measuring tree height, diameter at breast height, crown width, conductor height, span distance, and the distance from the tree to the closest utility line. The company’s analysis showed that using the ikeGPS improved field production by more than 50 percent, and the firm forecast a $100,000 savings in labor costs over three years.
Field workers at Henkels & McCoy, a major engineering and construction firm in the U.S., tested the ikeGPS solution in the City of Riverside, Calif., to conduct a joint attachment audit on 3,000 utility poles. They estimated that using traditional data collection methods would take over 30 weeks; with the ikeGPS, they finished in less than 14 weeks. The increased productivity allowed them to meet a tight deadline and schedule additional work during the extra time.
“Electric outages can be costly to individuals and businesses and damaging to the overall economy,” said Elsis. “It is in the best interest of utilities to protect the distribution system by finding faster, safer and cheaper methods to conduct accurate audits that support ongoing maintenance.”
Want to learn more? Click below to see how our customers are achieving their return on investment.
There are many reasons why you might need to measure the width of stream. There are some basic reasons, like will this log be long enough for me to get across the stream? However I refer here to measuring a stream or river for more empirical analysis for the likes of cadastral mapping or environmental monitoring and permitting.
Cadastral mapping often poses complex measurement problems, especially when a boundary is a river. Generally in a non-tidal river the boundary of riparian land is presumed to be in the center of a stream. So this raises the question -how do you measure the location of the middle of a river? Get a boat? Go for a swim? The ikeGPS wouldn’t mind going for a swim, because it’s waterproof, but fortunately there is a better way.
With the ikeGPS, you can stand in a remote, safe location and follow simple on screen instruction to aim at the riverbanks on each side. (This is similar to our Missing Line tool.) The ikeGPS measures their locations and calculates the position of the property boundary that’s on the centerline of the watercourse. Then an image like the one below is generated, clearly showing, and geolocating, the river center, the width of the river and respective environment.
Another less obvious application of this capability is for the likes of USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers - a major user of ikeGPS) for permitting. USACE has the (daunting) task of permitting and authorizing impacts to the Jursidictial Waters of the United States. There are lots factors considered within a jurisdictional waters assessment but perhaps the most crucial components of the assessment "How big is your water?" and "How much of this are you likely to impact?"
If we have a series of pictures with field measurements of stream widths we simply multiple the average stream widths (saved directly to the ike) times the length of the stream.
(USACE Impacts= Stream Width Average x Length)
A major driver to document stream width is to estimate impacts. This in turn is often the starting point for many mitigation and permitting questions with respect to the most applicable Nationwide Permit. A verifiable, geotagged measurement and image documenting this is a powerful piece of information.
If you have any questions or thoughts about using the ikeGPS mobile GIS solution for cadastral mapping or for jurisdictional waters assessment, please drop us a line.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working in our particular Mobile GIS space is delivering solutions that provide real value for our customers.
Henkels & McCoy is one of those customers that sees the value of Mobile GIS. Henkels & McCoy is one of the largest privately held engineering, network development and construction firms serving the communications, information technology and utility industries. They have more than 80 offices across the United States.
They came to us with a problem. They needed to get a joint attachment audit of 3,000 poles done in 26 weeks. With existing staff and perfect conditions this job would nominally take about 30 weeks. We worked with them and came up with a solution that could get the job done in just under 14 weeks.
We would love to hear people share their thoughts on how Mobile GIS inproves their bottom line.
ikeGPS can now provide 1 cm GPS local positional accuracy when configured with Altus APS-3 positioning devices. The APS-3 provides state-of-the-art GNSS technology and wireless communications integrated into a compact and light weight product design for survey applications. Combined with ikeGPS, this solution affords a uniquely powerful and accurate way of collecting mobile GIS data from multiple remote targets without compromising safety and efficiency.
Users collecting mobile GIS data can obtain high accuracy positions using the APS-3, transfer the data directly to the ikeGPS device, then collect location data from remote targets using the integrated laser rangefinder, 3D compass and high resolution camera onboard in the ikeGPS. Location data and geotagged images can then be directly transferred to GIS mapping systems and industry specific workflow applications.
The new ikeGPS integration with Altus APS-3 provides a cost-effective, high productivity alternative to traditional GPS surveying methods in which the operator must directly occupy each target location in order to record an accurate position. Now operators can obtain high precision data from a remote, safe location and they can capture multiple targets from a single position, saving time and money.
ikeGPS recommends that our users purchase the APS-3X Pak or APS-3GX Pak (supports Galileo users). These Paks include all the hardware items required to plug into an ikeGPS and start using in the field. With an activated SIM card, cellular data account and data collection software you can start collection precision position data using the ikeGPS and the Altus APS-3 GPS positioning system.
For more information on ikeGPS high accuracy tools, click here.
For pricing and order information, click here.
As part of our ikeGPS software suite we have an High Accuracy GPS option, hence our fancy acronym HAGO. I have seen many heated debates break out when people start discussing the details and nuances of what and how GPS works, especially when it comes to accuracy. The technical details can be quite complex, so I won’t address them in detail in this post, but what I will do is discuss how high accuracy can greatly impact your mobile GIS data collection results.
In the chart above, the dots are all from a single set of GPS data collection points measured with an ikeGPS mobile GIS device, but one set with HAGO (Blue) software applied and the other without HAGO (Red). Out of the box (without HAGO) ikeGPS is very robust and accurate. But if you want more accuracy, this is where HAGO comes in. HAGO will level out the position errors of your GPS data by using a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). This is a real time system that supports wide-area or regional augmentation through the use of additional satellite-broadcast messages. The graph below also illustrates this. As we move from left to right as time increases, HAGO errors drop off, while non-HAGO errors increase and become less stable.
The chart below is the same data as the first chart but with directional averaging and a mean average applied to the points measured with HAGO and without HAGP. This simplified view illustrates the overall improved accuracy of using HAGO software in GPS data collection.
Advantages of HAGO
- Software only, factory install or upgrade to all ike1000 Series devices
- No active control or input necessary from the user
- Provides sub-meter (CEP) accuracy for GPS measurements
If this sub-meter data and accuracy is still not up to par for you, contact ikeGPS support. We have some additional “SUPER” HAGO options available. They are not as simple as a software update like HAGO but involve some hardware add-ons. We will be discussing some of these advanced GPS options, like RTK, very soon.