Effective vegetation management for the UK power industry with Blom LiDAR

December 09, 2011 -- Following several months of discussions, meetings and market testing, Cheddar-based Blom UK, a leading provider of aerial photography and digital mapping services, has created a complete solution for effectively managing vegetation and trees close to power lines, and is rolling this out as an offering to the UK power industry.

Blom's solution utilises accurate height data taken from a LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) survey, along with detailed CAD models of the power lines to determine vegetation risk and proximity to lines and towers.

This is combined with wide ranging weather data for the region to calculate the position of the power lines at the time of heaviest use, in order to replicate the lowest "sag" of the power line relative to the surrounding vegetation and trees.

Greg Lewis, Sales and Business Development Executive at Blom UK, said: "Distinct from similar products developed by UK geospatial data providers, Blom chose to work with their experienced sister company in Norway to adapt the Blom forest inventory products offered in the Scandinavian countries, to suit the UK market in providing accurate tree attribution information".

By collecting large amounts of LiDAR data, the industries vegetation managers are able to focus their efforts only on the trees and vegetation that require cutting, allowing a more efficient, targeted approach to be put in place.

With the Electricity Supply Regulations (ESR) of 1988 being replaced with the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR) in 2002, (which set out guidance to improve the resilience and reliability of overhead electricity distribution networks), electricity companies are coming under more pressure than ever to ensure that the increasing demand for electricity across the UK is met and distributed effectively.

Many of the UK power companies are starting to realize the numerous benefits from using LiDAR as an asset management tool, going further than simply providing a cloud of points. Blom are now offering a range of value added products and complimentary services, not only to vegetation managers but also the engineers for profiling and design.

Greg commented: "This could be the first step towards a shift in the culture of the UK power industry, towards fully adopting new technologies and non invasive survey techniques". 

"As Europe's leading aerial survey and geospatial data provider, Blom UK is well equipped to tackle this challenging but rewarding initiative, and having generated significant interest, we are already well placed." concluded Greg.

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