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Identifying areas of high risk vegetation encroachment on power lines from satellite imagery

Geoff Zeiss's picture
Principal, Between The Poles

Geoff tracks the contribution of geospatial technology to the digitalization of the construction and energy industries and publishes on his Between The Poles blog, LinkeIn and other media.  His...

  • Member since 2012
  • 48 items added with 24,577 views
  • Dec 10, 2021
Vegetation is a significant source of outages for many utilities. In some regions from one quarter to one half of all outages can be ascribed to vegetation. Vegetation encroachment initiated the massive North American Northeastern outage of 2003. With the...
Steve Yusko's picture
Steve Yusko on Dec 20, 2021

Thanks Geoff for the post!  Vegetation is indeed a significant contributor to network related outages.  It is also the largest O&M expense outlay for most utilities. While advances in methods of data collection such as satellite imagery coupled with development of AI algorithms and machine learning are on the increase, there are still significant challenges utilities face with implementation.

Satellite data collection can certainly assist, especially for the transmission network, however our experience at Theorem Geo is that it falls short when applied to the distribution network. The cost of satellite data acquisition, the sheer volume of the U.S. distribution grid, and the frequency as which data needs to be collected are still problematic.

Theorem Geo ( has achieved success in tackling these challenges by utilizing our proprietary CartoVid platform in conjunction with multispectral data collection using utility fleet vehicles. This approach provides the utility with the ability to collect data while performing daily operations. It also provides the benefit of being able to determine the frequency of collection as well as the cadence in areas with higher vegetation related SAIDI impacts.

Geoff Zeiss's picture
Thank Geoff for the Post!
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