4 Ways Drones Improve Safety of Pipeline Surveys

Drones are a cost-effective, reliable way to improve the safety of pipeline surveys. There’s a reason why the oil and gas industry has embraced drones so readily: They are uniquely well-suited to improving the safety of pipeline projects. 

But what makes drones so important for pipeline safety? Here’s a list of just a few of the things that drones can do for a pipeline project.

1. Enhanced Regularity

Drone inspections can take place more frequently than other types of inspection. Not only are they cost-effective, but they’re also fast: A single drone can perform pipeline leak detection across an entire pipeline. Human inspectors need to inspect the entire project section by section, often taking quite a lot of time.

Since human inspections are lengthy and expensive, pipeline projects may execute them infrequently, and may consequently miss out on safety hazards. Comparatively, a drone inspection is completed quickly and collects a more robust set of data, providing the information that the pipeline company needs to protect its pipeline integrity.

Frequent inspections will mean that fewer safety hazards and issues fall through the cracks. The more regular and consistent the process is, the more issues will be caught. 

2. A Large Variety of Sensors

Practically any sensor can be used with drone technology. Thermal imaging cameras and other types of sensors are able to detect gas leaks and repair-related issues before they become a major problem, letting the pipeline company respond to these issues more effectively. These wide arrays of IoT sensors can be used in conjunction with drones to respond to potential repair and maintenance issues before they become devastating. 

When drones recognize issues in sensors, they can report their GPS position and the unit that the sensor is in. The sensor information will then be sent back to the project team, and the team will be able to address the problems as needed. Being able to fix problems with a pipeline inspection drone means that the pipeline won’t experience dramatic levels of downtime. Ultimately, this improves the overall pipeline integrity, and leads to reduced costs for the project.

3. No Humans in Harm’s Way

Drones don’t require a crew, which means that people aren’t exposed to potential dangers. With any helicopter or plane flight, the crew is subject to a potential crash or injury. Though the risks of modern flight are minimal, there always remains a slim chance of danger. Drones can fly through areas that have fumes or that could lead to fire or explosion. If the worst happens, then a drone could get damaged, but a human life is never at stake.

Drones are also impervious to many threats that could potentially injure people. Drones are able to fly in many types of weather, and can’t be damaged by things such as gas fumes. Drones will be able to fly even in extremely hot extremely cold weather; this weather might impact a human surveyor, and may occur in areas with pipeline development.

Pipeline issues can be potentially dangerous or hazardous, especially when it comes to fumes. These are areas that no human surveyor or inspector should expected to go into, but drones can do the job and determine how hazardous the area is before it is secured and contained.  

4. Protecting the Environment

A major concern for pipeline projects is that they might adversely impact the environment. With drones, pipeline surveys can be completed quickly to minimize the impact to the surrounding nature, environment, and landscape. Regular safety surveys will identify any potential issues, such as plant and root intrusions into the pipeline itself. Before the pipeline breaks apart and potentially causes a spill, these issues can be addressed. 

This improved safety has a profound impact on a pipeline project. Not only is the project safer for workers and the environment, but it’s also less costly. Being able to improve upon pipeline safety also reduces insurance rates and operating costs. For more information about the benefits of regular drone surveys for pipeline projects, contact Landpoint.

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How a Drone Survey Helps Save Taxpayers Money

A hurricane hit a city, but now the floodwaters have subsided. The government needs to know whether it’s safe to send engineers in to start making repairs, but how can it do so without risking personnel?

Drones, of course. Drones are a safe, effective way to monitor an environment for changes. Drones can report back detailed information about their surroundings: looking for survivors, identifying damage, and determining whether the danger is ongoing. Drones can report on traffic conditions during mass evacuations, or even look for lost pets after a weather event.

Drone technology is usually considered an effective way to save companies money, and to complete projects on time. But when utilized properly, drone surveys can also save taxpayers money on public projects. Drone technology is diverse and versatile, and can be easily applied to everything from natural disasters to municipal engineering products. Here’s what you need to know.  

How Can Drones Be Used for Public Projects?

With photogrammetry and LiDAR, aerial drone surveys can be used to make projects both faster and more efficient. When paired with surveying technology, drones gather accurate, up-to-date information about terrain. And, of course, with regular video feeds, drones can be used to monitor large areas at a time. 

There are a number of applications for this. Accurate drone surveys are able to make government projects faster and more efficient. They are also able to complete initial surveys and maintenance surveys without the need for a ground crew, ultimately saving the project (and taxpayers) money.

Drones are advanced technology that can create high resolution, highly accurate scans through LiDAR and photogrammetric tools. These scans help public projects simulate and test out their new investments, and ultimately save money in many ways.

Addressing Natural Disasters

Natural disasters come in many forms, and most of them strike by surprise. Earthquakes, wildfires, and tornadoes can be sudden and unpredictable. With drone technology, you can see what the extent of a disaster is before boots are on the ground. Otherwise, addressing a natural disaster can be dangerous in itself: Responders and volunteers need to put themselves in the way of danger to assess the situation.

During a natural disaster, drones can be used to look for people who need to be rescued, and direct rescuers accordingly. Drones can see where the damage is most severe, and can route traffic as needed. Further, drones can be used in areas that would be otherwise dangerous for helicopters, as the risk is not as great. Compared to helicopters, drones can fly much lower, and can therefore get a better view of the landscape.

Completing Regular Inspections

Apart from initially developing projects, drones can also able to be used for the purposes of security and safety. Drones can be used to secure a site by detecting unauthorized activity within zones. Many projects involve lengthy roadwork or construction, which may pose safety issues that can be detected through regular surveying. 

A drone can find problems before they become a catastrophe. Drones will be able to identify bridges that need bridge rehabilitation. A bridge that’s shut down is far better than a bridge that collapses. With many types of repair, the repair is faster and cheaper the earlier it’s caught. 

Inspections are often delayed (if not put off entirely) because of their heavy time and cost burden. Without drones, individuals need to survey the entire site, inspecting as they go. Drones can be paired with sensors and other technology to be able to complete surveys quickly and without human intervention. 

Providing Better Levels of Transparency

Public works are public-funded. Drone surveys provide better levels of transparency, by releasing information to the public. As updates are released, the community’s relationship with the government or its agency will strengthen. Drones can be used to report back to the public when projects are being completed, and whether projects will still be finished by their deadline.

There are many reasons terrestrial LiDAR surveys should be a new standard for municipal projects. LIDAR surveys give an extensive look at a project as it’s completed, allowing for corrections to be made. In terms of repairs and safety, LiDAR surveys can alert project managers to the issues they may experience ahead, while also reducing risk.

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Are you ready to get started? Contact Landpoint today to learn more about our aerial data collection services and drone technology.