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Chopper looks at future of Tablelands power

Published: 21 Sep 2015 2:31pm

Helicopter inspections of power poles west of Ravenshoe this week will help improve the safety and reliability of the electricity network and could introduce a new, faster and cheaper way to check Ergon’s electricity network.

A helicopter will be flying at low altitudes in the vicinity of Ergon power network assets on the Ravenshoe Feeder taking in the Ravenshoe township, Mount Ronald and Millstream areas performing pole-top inspections from September 27 to October 2, weather permitting.

Residents and property owners are advised to secure pets and stock as necessary.

The aerial inspection work will involve Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR*) analysis and high resolution digital photography of Ergon assets and will focus on the condition of pole tops, cross arms and other network equipment.

“These photographs and pole-top inspections will be used in cross-referencing data with the new international award-winning ROAMES system that maps Ergon’s network each year using aircraft-mounted laser imaging and computer mapping,” Customer Delivery Manager Charlie Casa explained.

The Ergon-developed ROAMES system (Remote Observation Asset Modelling Economic Simulation) is currently used to map Ergon’s network annually from fixed-wing aircraft to check on the condition of powerlines and assist with spatial data and maintenance programs including vegetation management (particularly the proximity of trees and other vegetation to powerlines and poles).

“We are now looking at ways to further enhance the ROAMES base products using high resolution imaging from an aircraft to accurately determine the condition of pole tops and cross arms – a process that has traditionally involved physically sending a person to the top of each and every pole to do the inspection,” Mr Casa said.

“Regular checking of pole tops in high-rainfall areas like the southern Tablelands is a valuable way to improve the safety and reliability of the network and we are always looking to improve the effectiveness of this work,” he said.

“The collection of this inspection data on the Tablelands will help us develop a much quicker and cheaper option through ROAMES to identify where maintenance is needed.”

Property owners with questions about the aerial inspection program should contact Dallace Brown on (07) 4687 0331 for further information.

*What is LiDAR? (As explained by the CSIRO) Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) is a technology that uses laser pulses to generate large amounts of data about the physical layout of terrain and landscape features. All varieties of LiDAR operate using the same basic principle. The LiDAR instrument fires rapid pulses of light (laser pulses) at the landscape and a sensor mounted on the instrument measures the amount of time taken for each light pulse to bounce back. Because light moves at a constant and known speed, the LiDAR instrument can then calculate the distance between itself and the target with high accuracy. By rapidly repeating the process, the LiDAR instrument builds up a complex 'picture' of the terrain it is measuring. Source: CSIRO Food and Agriculture Fast Facts, 4 September 2008

Media Contact: Mark Timmerman
Phone: (07) 4432 8731

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