Electric and gas utility businesses focus on providing safer, reliable, cleaner, and affordable energy to their customers with minimal interruption. They build, operate, and maintain their generation, transmission and distribution assets network to the best of their abilities. Safety, accuracy and efficiency of their assets management processes are extremely important. Recent physical and digital technological advancements have created significant improvement and innovation opportunities for these critical operating and business processes. GGI’s approach is to work with the utility companies to transform current manual or semi-automated processes to mature digitized automated processes for higher efficiency and accuracy. GGI’s roadmap to the digital and automated utility asset and vegetation management solutions include remote sensing (LiDAR, SAR, UV and imagery) and change detection on LiDAR point cloud and imagery, predictive analytics and machine vision & learning-augmented artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in concert with our patented (U.S. Patent No. 10,880,623; U.S. Patent Publication No. 2021/0073692 A1; and other patents pending) smart sensor nodes-based cyber-physical system (CPS), Instant Situational Insights™ for Utilities (iSIU™). Please visit the Wildfire page for details on iSIU™. Please review / download GGI’s solutions & services brochure for utilities here, watch our unique LiDAR workflow video demonstration here, sample classified LiDAR point cloud 3D transmission powerline right-of-way model here and distribution powerline right-of-way model here.

Wildfire Risk, Electric Utility Asset and Vegetation Management Opportunity

Electrical utility companies manage huge quantities of vegetation (trees/brushes/bushes/shrubs) along thousands of overhead Electric Transmission and Distribution line miles every year to mitigate vegetation related power outage and wildfire risks. These vegetation management operations involve time and cost intensive Pre Inspection (vehicular, aerial and foot patrol) process. This is a tedious and cost intensive operation having significant opportunity of efficiency gain with remote sensing and geoinformatics-derived automation.

Utility assets and vegetation management support technologies are necessary in response to the growing threats of wildfires due to climate change, aging infrastructures and shortage of qualified utility vegetation management professionals. Technologies are augmenting traditional asset and vegetation inspection processes for efficiency and effectiveness, not eliminating traditional practices. Please watch the following video message of our unique LiDAR workflow for powerline asset and vegetation management and subscribe to our channel by clicking the green and gold ā€œGā€ on the upper left corner of the video frame.

In February 2021 we collected LiDAR data of approximately 20 square miles area containing Transmission and Distribution powerlines concurrently to validate the most modern airborne LiDAR sensor from a fixed wing aircraft using wide-area collection mode. This is the most efficient, effective and accurate mode of LiDAR data collection for powerlines and vegetation. This 3D model of classified LiDAR point cloud is a section of an as-built Transmission circuit right-of-way (approximately 3500 ft long x 500 ft wide) in rugged high fire threat terrain. This model is a very high quality input for our proprietary powerline asset and vegetation management analytics. We can calculate vegetation encroachment and powerline clearance within centimeters level accuracy. In this section no hazards were detected. This is a great periodic inspection tool (until real-time monitoring with iSIU™ is enabled) to verify that the vegetation has been maintained and there are no immediate remedial actions required. We are capable of collecting, processing and delivering 100s of miles of LiDAR-derived Transmission vegetation management data every few weeks.

In February 2021 we collected LiDAR data of approximately 20 square miles area containing Transmission and Distribution powerlines concurrently to validate the most modern airborne LiDAR sensor from a fixed wing aircraft using wide-area collection mode. This is the most efficient, effective and accurate mode of LiDAR data collection for powerlines and vegetation. This 3D model of classified LiDAR point cloud (approximately 1200 ft. long x 800 ft. wide area), contains a couple of sections of an as-built distribution circuit in rugged high fire threat terrain. This model is a very high-quality input for our proprietary powerline asset and vegetation management analytics. We can calculate vegetation encroachment and powerline clearance within centimeters level accuracy. In these sections of the Distribution powerline right-of-way no hazards were detected. This is a great periodic inspection tool (until real-time monitoring with iSIU™ is enabled) to verify that the vegetation has been maintained and there are no immediate remedial actions required. We are capable of collecting, processing and delivering 100s of miles of LiDAR-derived Distribution vegetation management data every few weeks.

  • Incompatible and encroaching vegetation in power line rights-of-way (ROWs) must be monitored and controlled
  • Cyclic aerial LiDAR scans semi-automate the manual inspection processes
  • Predictive analytics derived from change detection on LiDAR point clouds and imagery and prior ground truth data can further automate asset and vegetation inspection process and reduce cost
  • Our patented CPS, iSIU™ can enable risk-based prioritization and autonomous asset and vegetation encroachment monitoring and improve Pre-Inspection process efficiency and safety
  • Tree crews will be able to accomplish prescribed tree work using the CPS generated real-time situational awareness and advisories as necessary

GGI is committed to working with the electric and gas utilities at each of the above stages in the vegetation management automation process.