Geographic data specialist Bluesky has secured funding from the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to investigate the potential of mobile phones for capturing accurate 3D spatial information.
Designed to reduce the costs of monitoring and managing essential infrastructure, such as overhead electricity cables, and mitigate the effects of potentially damaging vegetation, the Bluesky-led study will assess the feasibility of extracting 3D measurements from standard smartphone video footage.
Using specialist software and specially developed photogrammetric algorithms, it is possible to compute depth values for individual pixels within overlapping images taken from video to create dense 3D point clouds of an object or scene, Bluesky said.
Working in partnership with ADAS, an environmental consultancy, Bluesky will provide experience gained through previous data capture and management projects with electricity distribution network operator (DNO) companies in the UK and overseas.
The initial application of this innovative use of mainstream technology would be the accurate measurement of vegetation encroachment in the field for maintenance purposes. The company will also explore other applications of the solution in sectors such as forensics, insurance and emergency response.
DNO companies spend millions monitoring and maintaining clearance between trees and power lines, with the market potential in Europe alone estimated at £10 million per annum.
By using readily available mobile phone technology, Bluesky hopes to reduce this cost of overhead networks, both power and telecommunications, across the world, and provide managers with an easy-to-use and easy-to-update efficient audit trail.