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Overhead Line Assessment Using Panoramic Images (aka Google Streetview)

UK Power Networks sought to carry out a proof of concept to use Google Street View images to carry out safety inspections on overhead line assets, as an alternative to foot patrols and helicopter patrols.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 03/07/2017
End date: 28/02/2018
Budget: £165,550

A proof of concept to use Google Street View images to carry out safety inspections on overhead line assets, as an alternative to foot patrols and helicopter patrols. The aim was to also assess the feasibility of using a third party to capture sample 360-degree (panoramic) images where Google Street View was unavailable. The objectives were to:

  • Verify if there was sufficient “coverage” of UK Power Networks’ overhead lines in  Google Street View;
  • Verify that the images from Google Street View images are of sufficient quality ;Develop a replicable methodology to assess overhead lines using Google Street View images;
  • Demonstrate that this approach is a cost-effective approach when compared to other traditional methods for overhead line assessments (foot patrols, helicopter patrols etc.); and
  • To demonstrate that 360 degree images can be captured on site in a cost effective way.

The following approach was used on the project:

  • Worked with OniGroup (a Google for work partner) to compare UK Power Network’s pole positions to locations with Google Street View via a Google API, to determine whether there was greater than 40% coverage of UK Power Networks’ Overhead line assets using Google Street View;
  • Worked with Captura, a third party inspection company to prove that good quality panoramic images could be captured by third parties; and
  • Developed a map interface, within UK Power Networks’ Geospatial Analytics Web

Application, to enable user(s) to carry out OHL assessments from a desktop.

Use of Google Street View images for safety inspections was a novel application of an existing technology.

  • 52% of all UK Power Networks poles (360,383 of 693,763) were available in Google Street View. This was more than the 40% in the success criteria
  • 56%   of the available poles in Google Street View (203,448 of 360,383) were captured in the six years (2011 to 2016)

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