Welcome to the future! LIDAR inspection service

 Power line patrol is becoming increasingly dependent on helicopters. Their excellent visibility and the ability to fly low and slow, or hover and land makes the helicopter the most effective aerial patrol aircraft. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about our LiDAR services. 

What is LIDAR?

LIDAR uses ultraviolet, visible, or near infrared light to image objects. It can target a wide range of materials, including non-metallic objects, rocks, rain, chemical compounds, aerosols, clouds and even single molecules. A narrow laser beam can map physical features and the returned beam is translated into a 3D image with very high resolution.

Tomlinson Aviation services include aerial patrol inspection services, collection of aerial LIDAR and imagery (infrared & Corona technology) data ideally suited for various analysis and mapping. Primarily, the LIDAR data will be processed to generate clearance distance polygons for vegetation management, the color imagery (still & video) can be used for orthophoto creation, transmission structure photos, and visual inspection of the ROW. Infrared (IR) imagery can be used for dead tree identification, while the corona data can be used to detect and pinpoint flash-arc corona and arcing partial discharge locations on electric facilities (e.g. transmission & distribution lines, substations).


What industries can benefit from our LIDAR inspection...

The possibilities are almost endless as to where LIDAR can be highly beneficial. The most common industries that are taking advantage of our LIDAR inspections include: agriculture, transportation, power distribution, and infrastructure. Give us a call to find out how we can make your company more successful. 

Additional LIDAR Information


Some technical points for the LiDAR System (RIEGL_VUX-1LR)

  • 15 mm      (0.59 inch) survey-grade accuracy with 10 mm (0.39 inch) precision
  • scan      speed up to 200 scans / second
  • measurement      rate up to 750,000 meas./sec
  • operating      flight altitude up to 1,740 ft.
  • field      of view up to 330° for practically unrestricted data acquisition
  • regular      point pattern, perfectly parallel scan lines
  • cutting      edge RIEGL technology providing (why we choose this sensor over others)
        - echo signal digitization
        - online waveform processing
        - multiple-time-around processing
  • multiple      target capability - practically unlimited number of targets echoes
  • compact      (227x180x125 mm), lightweight (8.2 lbs), and rugged
  • easily      mountable to manned helicopters (RIEGL VP-1 Helipod)
  • mechanical      and electrical interface for IMU mounting
  • electrical      interfaces for GPS data string and Sync Pulse (1PPS)
  • scan      data storage on internal 240 GByte SSD Memory

In summary, The VUX-1LR Long Range is a very lightweight, compact and rugged laser scanner that has a proven history in the industry for superior accuracy & performance with highly repeatable and predictable results.


Additional Camera Information


Some technical points for the Camera System (PhaseOne 150mp color camera)

  • High      resolution with a pixel count of 14204 x 10652
  • 3.76µm      pixel size
  • 83dB Dynamic      range (the luminance range      of a scene being photographed. The better the dynamic range of the camera,      the more an exposure can be pushed without significantly      increasing noise).
  • Backside-illumination      technology (helps to get good      imagery in low light conditions)
  • 2 fps      fast capture rate (aircraft speed has little to no effect on imagery (no motion blur
  • USB-C      and 10G Ethernet for versatility of connectivity
  • Camera      supports super-fast storage capabilities with full control over a wireless      link
  • Super-fast      XQD storage card (XQD memory cards      have speeds up to 440MB/s for data transfer and 400MB/s for data write). 

The PhaseOne 150mp camera enables increased productivity for a range of aerial image acquisition projects as it provides wider aerial coverage. Ultra-high resolution (14204 x 10652) and the backside-illuminated sensor, enables perfect image quality, even in low light conditions resulting in more flying hours per day and more flight days per year.


Additional Application Information


Some technical points to address the application of these systems for electric utilities --- these can be true for Transmission and Distribution Systems.

· Vegetation management applications include

o clearance distance measurements

o vegetation prescriptions (examples, can be easily modified or adjusted based on requirements)

§ Hand cut no chip 

§ Hand cut chip 

§ Light mowing 

§ Heavy mowing 

§ Bucket work 

§ Tree removal maintained 

§ Tree removal unmaintained 

§ Mechanical side trim routine maintenance 

§ Mechanical side trim reclaim 

§ Manual side trim routine maintenance 

§ Manual side trim reclaim work

o ground to conductor clearances

o hazard tree detection

o tree inventory

o dead tree detection

o change detection to support growth modeling

o identification of vines

o fast growing specie identification

o palm tree identification

o Category II tree and Category III tree identification

· Visualize encroachments within corridors (buildings, equipment, other dangers, for example 3rd party construction activities)

· Creation of 3D data, e.g. Digital Elevation Model, cross-sections, profiles

· Access road mapping

· Asset management

· Engineering modeling; new design, construction, as-built and/or re-conductoring

· PLS-CADD modeling supporting methods 1 thru 4




 Identify Category II trees

Trees that are inside the ROW that have a fall-inpotential can be identified. The LiDAR data can be analyzed to determine the location of potential Category II trees by comparing tree stem point features with the ROW boundaries. Once the candidates are located, LiDAR data will be reviewed to verify whether or not the tree stem is within the ROW. A point file can be created with Category II tree locations and delivered in Esri shapefile format.

 Identify Category III trees 

Analysis of the LiDAR can be performed to determine the “fall in” vegetation outside of the ROW. For example, a danger tree area might be consider a tree that is 15’ outside of the ROW for 230 kV line. Any such tree inside the area that could fall at a point directly under the outside conductor could be targeted for removal. Category III trees deliverable can be Esri shapefile format.


 Orthophoto imagery 

 using aerial imagery data, create color orthorectified imagery at a ground sample distance of less than 6-inches. Orthophotos will cover the entire width of the ROW. Can be used to find dead trees and various ROW encroachments. Infrared imagery is another excellent tool for dying or dead vegetation identification. A file can be created with dead tree locations and delivered in Esri shapefile format.


Corona detection

Corona discharge is a luminous partial discharge from conductors and insulators due to ionization of the air, where the electrical field exceeds a critical value. By deploying a corona camera we can detect and pinpoint flash-arc corona and arcing partial discharge locations on electric facilities. An image tagged with geolocation can be delivered.


 Field Access Data 

In order to aid in the evaluation of vehicle access to various areas of the transmission line ROW, field access data layers can be created. These data will be developed from the LiDAR data set as well as other existing data sources. Esri geodatabase is the delivery format.

The Field Access Data shall include: 

Existing planimetric data can include: 

1) Roads --- including areas of significant rutting 

2) Fences

3) Gates 

4) Hydrology features

5) Contours

6) Buildings

7) Rail roads