Drones for Engineering

How to Identify Encroachments on Power Lines With LP360

In this video, learn how LP360 can extract power-line data and evaluate vegetation that has grown dangerously close to ensure power-line safety.

LP360 LiDAR and Photogrammetry 3D point cloud software can be used as a powerful tool for extracting power lines and evaluating vegetation that has grown too close. Martin Flood, the VP of special projects at our sister company, GeoCue, demonstrates how LP360 is used by utility companies to collect LIDAR data with TrueView 3DIS LiDAR drone systems and process it through LP360 to identify wires, towers, and vegetation. Learn more in this informative video:

Extracting Power Lines

LP360 LiDAR and Photogrammetry 3D point cloud software is a powerful tool for identifying encroachments on power lines and evaluating vegetation that has grown too close. To demonstrate this, Flood uses a data set collected from a transmission line in Brazil and processed in LP360. The Lidar point cloud is color-coded by elevation and the feature layers show the center line, tower alignment, and tower locations.

Flood then demonstrates the process of identifying encroachments by using the feature layers of the point cloud in LP360. For example, the encroachment layer he has created shows triangles that LP360 has identified as areas where objects are getting too close to the wire. He notes that the definition of what is too close depends on the utility company, and in this case, it was defined as objects within 5 meters of their wires.

One of the nice features of LP360 is the feature analyst tool which allows the user to work in a GIS environment with an attribute table that displays all the data collected on the features including locations, comments, and more.

LP360 software can classify and extract power lines

Classifying the data

Then, LP360 allows technicians to review encroachments quickly and conveniently without having to go through the entire transmission line dataset. “The software creates a very effective way for the technicians to review encroachments without having to go through the entire transmission line section,” said Flood. “In LP360 they can just drive directly to the areas where there are obstructions that they want to make some analysis on.” The software also makes it easy to jump from one danger zone to the next and scan for encroachments near the wires.

At this point in the demonstration, Flood shows how to take the LiDAR data from an unclassified feature layer and begin the process of identifying the points from the wires, vectorizing those points to create the catenary, and then identifying objects that are encroaching the wires.

This is possible because LiDAR data classification involves assigning points to specific classes based on their characteristics. For example, a point may represent the ground, a wire, a building, or other objects, and each point can be classified accordingly.

Martin Flood, VP of special projects, demonstrates how to extract power lines in LP360.

The power of point cloud tasks

Next, Flood uses the Power Line Extractor point cloud task in LP360. This task will run a search across the points to find and identify the catenary. Then it automatically performs an analysis to trace the points which form a good catenary between the towers. It’ll identify the points as wires and create the written vectors to classify them according to the standard class table. This will help in the creation of a new feature layer identifying the wire vectors.

With the wires identified in the classified point cloud, Flood can then use another point cloud task in LP360, Classify By Wire, which will identify the danger zones of vegetation encroachment as defined by the utility company.

Overall, LP360 is a powerful tool for identifying encroachments on power lines and evaluating vegetation that has grown too close. It provides a quick and efficient way for technicians to review encroachments and make informed decisions without having to physically inspect every part of the transmission line.

If you would like more information on how to incorporate LP360 into your LiDAR data processing, schedule a time to meet with one of our helpful representatives.