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.
SEIKEY S.r.l. is using an innovative method for inspecting the operating parameters of 11,800 radio base stations (RBS) in Italy for risk prevention, compliance, and the maintenance and development of the 3, 4, 4.5, and 5G networks. Inspections are carried out through high definition photography, LiDAR sensors, thermographic cameras, and spectrum analyzers. During the inspection phase, it is possible to view the data that the drone is acquiring in real-time through ProjectWise. Using ContextCapture, MicroStation, and Bentley Map, data is collected, processed, and managed in ProjectWise where, through Bentley Navigator, 3D visualization provides a comprehensive and realistic view of situations requiring intervention. The management of flight schedules, the collection and preparation of the necessary permits, and the management of collected and processed data posed significant challenges. ProjectWise proved to be essential for this operational management. The inspection method led to a reduction in the risk to human life and a reduction in inspection times, where previously it took five days to perform an RBS inspection, it can now be done in six hours.