Digital data for buried cables


By its nature, energy infrastructure needs to stretch across remote areas. This applies in all countries, and is becoming increasingly the case where companies are building renewable infrastructure – on-shore wind farms and solar farms.

Maintaining this infrastructure is critical to ensure a continuous supply to consumers. It’s also needed to ensure the safety of workers, the general public and any livestock in the area. Having a reliable maintenance programme saves money, allows repairs to be made quickly and cost-effectively and keeps energy supplies running.

The maintenance challenge
There are several challenges for energy companies with infrastructure in remote areas:

Health and safety – remote areas are often dangerous, with mountainous terrain, boggy landscapes and rapidly changing weather. Sending teams – or sometimes even a lone worker – puts people at risk. There is often no phone signal, so it’s difficult to track teams, and any kind of rescue operation is difficult and expensive.

Time – surveying remote locations on the ground is time-consuming. Teams need to go out over the course of many days, and it can take weeks to gather all the data together – particularly if the weather is poor. So the maintenance programme takes longer and costs more money.

Cost – sending out teams over a long period is a costly business. You need to factor in transportation, accommodation and pay rates. Energy companies and other infrastructure providers have almost exclusively switched to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) because of these cost constraints.

Data quality – terrain can make it difficult to track elements like cabling. Areas can be missed and therefore the data collected can be patchy. This makes it more difficult to highlight areas of concern and means that some issues may be missed.

Next-generation remote survey
What do these infrastructure companies need?

· Highly accurate data

· Faster turnaround

· Experienced analysis

· Images and 3D models for in-depth understanding

· The ability to collaborate with stakeholder teams

· Efficient, cost-effective repair plans that eliminate downtime

When we talk about remote surveys, we mean UAV-led survey and inspection. Done well, these provide quality data to companies, allowing them to plan and execute maintenance plans quickly and effectively.

Using state-of-the-art high-resolution cameras, highly maneuverable multi-rotor drones, flown by qualified pilots with CAA approvals, these top-down surveys provide the precision data that companies need, backed by high-resolution images so that teams can see exactly where the problem is and assess local terrain and access.

Using this survey option has a range of commercial benefits:

Minimise human risk – UAV teams are small, take less time to survey and don’t need to access the most hazardous areas on foot. This improves health and safety and minimises the risk to company maintenance teams.

Instant data source – a faster collection of precise data means that companies receive the analysed data faster. This helps them to plan ahead and put an emphasis on a safe, efficient repair approach.

Better collaboration – having a single digital data source means that teams can collaborate wherever they are. This saves time and money, and enables companies to bring in third-party contractors who have access to complete data.

Reduced emissions – for companies with net zero ambitions, reducing the amount of travel to remote sites can make a big difference. Using a UAV approach means far less travel, reducing emissions and helping to reach stated targets.

Habitat preservation – a lot of remote infrastructure passes through areas of important biodiversity and species habitats. Surveying from the air means no disruption to these areas, giving companies a hands-off approach that supports commercial objectives without damaging the landscape.

From buried pipelines to infrastructure tunnels, UAV surveys deliver a fast, accurate and safe way to collect and access survey data for maintenance and repair. To find out more about the remote surveys we can provide for your infrastructure project, contact us today:


Leave A Reply