NV5 Geospatial uses remote sensing for utility distribution management

November 28, 2022  - By
NV5 Geospatial's distribution network data shows pole usage. (Image: Nv5 Geospatial)

NV5 Geospatial’s distribution network data shows pole usage. (Image: Nv5 Geospatial)

Asset and vegetation management applications help utilities minimize risk and improve the reliability of electric distribution networks

Geospatial data firm NV5 Geospatial is applying remote-sensing data analysis to improve the way utilities manage their distribution networks. The company mapped more than 5.5 million miles of utility distribution networks in the United States using a combination of lidar and orthoimagery sensors on mobile and airborne platforms to acquire data for both asset and vegetation management.

Analysis of this geospatial data enables electric utilities to minimize risk and maximize reliability, while increasing efficiency.

“An aging grid, workforce shortages, increasing energy demands and an uptick in major weather events are combining to create a perfect storm that could impact reliability, customer service and safety for electric utilities across the country,” said Eric Merten, vice president, Commercial Group at NV5 Geospatial. “A boots-on-the-ground approach to management cannot keep up with demands related to aging equipment, compliance, pole loading and vegetation encroaching on infrastructure.

“NV5 Geospatial’s innovative remote-sensing applications and data analysis tools give utilities the power to proactively address problems in their distribution network before they impact operations or customers,” Merten said.

A distribution network (purple) and vegetation risks (red/yellow pins). (Image: NV5 Geospatial)

A distribution network (purple) and vegetation risks (red/yellow pins). (Image: NV5 Geospatial)

Built on the success of its remote-sensing applications for utility transmission networks, NV5 Geospatial’s distribution management solutions offer end-to-end capabilities — from acquiring accurate, high-quality geospatial data to data analysis and visualization using custom viewers and enterprise geospatial information systems (GIS) — and can be customized to meet the use cases and budgets of utility companies.

Using NV5 Geospatial’s tools, distribution network asset managers can achieve compliance with National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) clearance guidelines, and get clear visibility into joint use of poles to prevent pirating.

The NV5 Geospatial remote-sensing data also can help quantify vegetation with distribution rights-of-way and determine risk based on proximity to wires and poles.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.