HOUSTON (September 18, 2017) – From land to water, new technology is helping BGE’s Surveying Team plan and complete projects in a safe and efficient manner.
“We have implemented two new technologies over the last several months and while they have very different operating uses, both have proven their worth,” said Nick Vann, BGE survey manager. “One of the technologies is closer to traditional surveying, while the other is more like sonar. But both allow us to get the highest level of measurements delivered right to tablets on the job site – and keep our employees out of what can sometimes be treacherous terrain.”
Child’s Play to Reach New Depths
The first new piece of equipment is all about using movement to get the job done. The Hydro Drone is a remote-controlled, mini-pontoon boat equipped with sonar mapping that interfaces directly with our GPS.
“Precise mapping of water areas is extremely important. If you were going to expand a detention pond, historically someone would have to go out into the pond and map the depth and determine the existing underwater topography. This technology provides accurate mapping data – and no one has to get wet,” he said.
The sonar equipment is attached to a remote-controlled Hydro Drone operated from shore. It weighs about 20 pounds, travels 13 miles per hour and can run all day at a range of 1.2 miles.
“It almost seems like child’s play, but the measurements and information we get from this device is very precise and allows us to create the best option for the client,” Vann said.
Providing A New Look with High-Tech Imagery
The second piece of equipment is stationary, but provides incredible in-depth 3D imagery. It’s called the Trimble SX10 – a device that combines traditional surveying with high-definition imaging and high-speed 3D scanning. This all-in-one apparatus weighs 20 pounds and has a battery life of about 13 hours.
Traditional surveying equipment can take anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 points of data a day; the new Trimble SX10 can take 25,000 points per second. It also takes geo-referenced photos at the same time, so it puts a picture with the data.
From a safety standpoint, the new equipment can scan and provide data in areas where it would be potentially dangerous for a surveyor to reach.
“We’ve also been able to image an entire bridge structure with the device, so we continue to find new ways to use the technology,” he said.