Communications Organizations Capitalize on ContextCapture to Reduce Costs and Safety Risks

Bangalore, February 06, 2018: Communications tower inspections typically require the site to be shut down and the tower climbed by an expert rigging team. If the tower is non-climbable, an elevated work platform must be used to allow close-up inspection of the antennas and equipment. Capturing imagery and other information with drones enables significant cost savings, eliminates health and safety risks of tower climbs, and reduces the time required to assess tower conditions. The 2017 Be Inspired Awards submissions included several compelling examples of the use of reality modeling for tower inspections.

SEIKEYS.r.l. is using an innovative method for inspecting the operating parameters of11,800 radio base stations (RBS) in Italy for risk prevention, compliance, andthe maintenance and development of the 3, 4, 4.5, and 5G networks. Inspectionsare carried out through high definition photography, LiDAR sensors,thermographic cameras, and spectrum analyzers. During the inspection phase, itis possible to view the data that the drone is acquiring in real-time throughProjectWise. Using ContextCapture, MicroStation, and Bentley Map, data iscollected, processed, and managed in ProjectWise where, through BentleyNavigator, 3D visualization provides a comprehensive and realistic view ofsituations requiring intervention. The management of flight schedules, thecollection and preparation of the necessary permits, and the management ofcollected and processed data posed significant challenges. ProjectWise provedto be essential for this operational management. The inspection method led to areduction in the risk to human life and a reduction in inspection times, wherepreviously it took five days to perform an RBS inspection, it can now bedone in six hours. 

Cristiano DeLeonardis, CEO and founder of SEIKEY S.r.l., said, “ProjectWise made itpossible to quickly coordinate among the stakeholders, providingtelecommunications operators with immediate access to up-to-date informationand a huge amount of data (e.g. a detailed photogrammetric reconstruction withContextCapture takes around 1,700 40MP photos, up to 30GB of photos for eachRBS, and more than 400TB of data for all the RBSs). ProjectWise provides thedocumentation base to support continuous asset management.” 

iSpatialGlobal Systems, working with RBI Technical Solutions International (RBI),developed the iGlobe Tower Management System (iGTMS), a proof of concept (POC)exploring the use of unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAV), 3D reality modeling,and geographic information systems (GIS) for the maintenance and engineering ofcellular towers. RBI is an engineering inspection company with offices acrossSouth Africa that performs risk-based inspections for a broad range ofindustries. The project goals included reducing the time from inspection to aworkable 3D model on the engineer’s desktop and, of course, drastic reductionof the need for tower climbs. 

ProjectWiseplayed a key role for the distributed teams in managing content and workflowsfrom the information collected in the field right to final reports. All reportsand inspections are linked to the geospatial information in Bentley Map as wellas the spatial folders in ProjectWise. Bentley’s ContextCapture was used togenerate rich reality meshes shared through the iGTMS portal. Bentley Map wasused as the foundation of the underlying spatial content bringing together WMSlayers from providers like TomTom and Google. The POC confirmed that realitymodeling can enable the maintenance, engineering, and planning teams to makedecisions based on common information and that planning in the office is now muchmore accurate, ensuring the correct technology and crews are sent to the sitefor any subsequent work. 

Eye-botAerial Solutions produces 3D engineering ready meshes of structures, such asthe monopole cell tower in Springdale, Pennsylvania, using ContextCapture.Modeling vertical structures with UAV photogrammetry is extremely difficultwhen the structure has complex cross bracing that can be seen through. Eye-botrelies on the unique capability of ContextCapture to use photogrammetry and UAVlaser scanning to consistently generate accurate models of such complex towers.Lease holders take advantage of the model for remote inspection rather thaneach company sending a team to inspect their equipment, reducing work in a farsafer environment than the traditional method of climbing towers. The modelscan be used to check for structural deformities that may have been caused byexcessive stress and the surface area of components can be measured for windand ice load calculations, allowing for well-informed decisions that no longerrely solely on the person climbing the tower. 

Jake Lydick,founder and CEO of Eye-bot Aerial Solutions, said reality modeling withContextCapture allows his team to “Deliver a vast and complete, verifiedaccurate, up-to-date record of the current state and position of the client’stangible assets contained in an easily consumable source.” 

SiteSee usedContextCapture to create reality meshes for as-built auditing and analysis of aTelstra telecommunications tower in Brisbane, Australia and reported areduction in asset inspection and maintenance costs of 69 percent along with areduction in project delivery lead time of 86 percent. ContextCapture enabledSiteSee to export a dense point cloud for further analysis in their web-basedapplication for remote site inspection to support automated corrosion detectionand antenna identification with model, height, azimuth, and mechanical tilt, aswell as preliminary radiation hazard EME simulation within the 3D reality meshscene. Since Bentley’s ContextCapture supports Cesium 3D Tiles, SiteSeedeveloped the web application based on Cesium tiles. SiteSee’s 3DTile viewerenables users from field teams, engineering, health and safety, real estate,and asset management to remotely view and analyze assets and run reports. Thereality mesh can also be linked to the user’s internal asset management systemto align records with the data extracted from the reality mesh, bridging thegap between reality and the database of record.


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