April 16, 2013 -- Picayune, MS---Aerotec, a leader in topographic maps and models, was recently awarded U.S. Patent 8374431 for its Top-Gun Veg-tool. The technology is used by utility foresters to identify, locate, analyze, and report vegetation clearance violations on electric power transmission rights-of-way. This is beneficial because without the technology, utility foresters tend to err on the side of conservatism and cut too many trees.
With the Top-Gun Veg-tool, the forester “shoots” a single shot from a laser gun to determine whether or not a particular tree, or tree branch, represents a threat to the subject transmission line. There is no need to locate the base of the tree, the trunk of the tree, or the conductor in order to identify, locate, analyze, and report a violation of the clearance criteria.
Aerotec’s TopGun Veg-Tool is usually deployed to verify, mark for cutting, or audit clearing operations for hazard tree violations previously identified using Aerotec’s airborne LIDAR models of the affected right-of-way.
“We are excited about the technology and the patent because it has the potential to save the utility customer a good deal of money or at least allow them to reallocate their funds to resolve more pressing issues,” said Aerotec CEO, Jim Dow.
Aerotec was created in 1998 to support the electric utility industry, in particular electric transmission line engineering by offering a solution, using LiDAR, to rapidly evaluate the aging electric transmission systems across the United States and determine its capacity to safely carry the electrical load. During this time, Aerotec has worked for a majority of the electric utilities in just about every State in the lower 48, delivering engineering accurate three-dimensional models of transmission systems. Some of their larger customers include American Electric Power, Entergy, The Southern Company (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Gulf Power Companies), South Mississippi Electric Power Association, TVA, Exelon/ComEd, and San Diego Electric to name a few.
Aerotec has been privileged to be a part of less traditional geospatial projects. For example, Aerotec flew and modeled the entire city of Houston, TX as part of an IBM “Smarter Planet” TV advertisement program. In addition, they helped produce a music video for the group Radio Head made entirely from scanned LiDAR data. According to Aerotec executives, as strange as those concepts seem, it just further demonstrates the point that geospatial data can and should be used in some of the most unlikely places.
About Aerotec, LLC: Aerotec, LLC is a value-added services company that uses state-of-the-art airborne remote sensing (data capture) and data analysis technologies to provide topographic maps and models to its customers throughout North America. Aerotec's primary technologies include Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR/laser-scan), digital photography, proprietary and commercial (off-the-shelf) software, and specialized engineering analysis packages. For more information about Aerotec, visit http://www.aerotecusa.com/.