aerial model of Alston

Following on from being awarded a place on the AMP7 framework, APEM continues to build their relationship with United Utilities. The latest project is to map a pipeline route approximately 12km in length near Alston (north of Preston).

The team will be carrying out high-resolution aerial LiDAR and imaging surveys to map the route and produce photo-realistic 3D models of the landscape, along with traditional mapping outputs such as orthophotos, digital elevation models (DEMs) and point clouds.

LiDAR is a method for measuring distances as accurately as possible by sending 1000s of laser pulses and then measuring the time it takes to bounce back. The different return times are then used to create accurate 3D point clouds of the area.

At the same time, APEM’s multi-angle camera is used to construct highly detailed, photo-realistic models of the route. In combination, the aerial data produce a very detailed 3D representation of the landscape that can be accessed and analysed quickly and easily by United Utilities staff.

The use of high-resolution images and LiDAR data captured from manned aircraft makes commercial sense for projects of all sizes, especially when compared to UAVs (drones) or other traditional methods.

Our aircraft can survey multiple sites across hundreds of kilometres in a single day – including remote or inaccessible areas – allowing us to provide a snapshot of an entire group of projects from a single survey.

The single source of data helps to reduce carbon footprints and health and safety risks by reducing the number of ‘boots-on-the-ground’ and removes delays caused by land ownership or access negotiations, especially important in the current times as localised lockdowns continue to happen.

Other work completed for United Utilities in recent months includes a programme of surveys across 23 sites in the north-west of England of their above-ground assets. The goal was to create 3D models to help assess access, response times, condition, proximity risk and clash avoidance. We have also been appointed on to their AMP 7 Framework.

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