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February 14, 2018

Bluesky develops 3D infrastructure maps using mobile phone technology

The UK’s geographic datasets and services provider Bluesky has completed a research project to develop mobile phone-based technology to capture 3D maps of infrastructure, with support from the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Designed to produce accurate data on the location and its surroundings, the nine-month-long project focused on the use of smartphone technology to capture and calibrate video footage, and then convert it to 3D spatial data.

Attributes of essential infrastructure such as overhead power lines and other utility facilities can be extracted using specially developed algorithms and workflows.

The project’s mobile phone mapping technology will help electricity Distribution Network Operators and other organisations with a dispersed asset base, as a low-cost measurement and auditing tool.

“Providing a more cost-effective data capture, analysis, auditing, and dissemination solution will significantly decrease maintenance costs.”

During the course of the research, Bluesky used aerial photography to add control points to the video footage and tested several hardware, software and deployment options.

The research was conducted in collaboration with the UK’s independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice ADAS.

The project involved rigorous testing to establish and document the field data capture process, identifying minimum hardware requirements, such as camera pixel capacity, and additional developments to the data delivery mechanism.

With minor revisions and tests, Bluesky plans to launch the complete mobile phone mapping tool with data processing and hosting services in the second quarter of this year.

Bluesky managing director Rachel Tidmarsh said: “We know from previous work with ADAS, electricity companies and other utility service operators that by providing a more cost-effective data capture, analysis, auditing, and dissemination solution we will significantly decrease maintenance costs releasing essential funds for network upgrades and service improvements.”

Bluesky specialises in aerial surveying, including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data, using technology such as UltraCam Eagles and Teledyne Optech Galaxy LiDAR systems that are integrated with a PhaseOne camera and thermal sensor.

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