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Open AccessArticle

UAV Low Altitude Photogrammetry for Power Line Inspection

School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
Collaborative Innovation Center of Geospatial Technology, Wuhan 430079, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(1), 14;
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
PDF [7226 KB, uploaded 12 January 2017]


When the distance between an obstacle and a power line is less than the discharge distance, a discharge arc can be generated, resulting in the interruption of power supplies. Therefore, regular safety inspections are necessary to ensure the safe operation of power grids. Tall vegetation and buildings are the key factors threatening the safe operation of extra high voltage transmission lines within a power line corridor. Manual or laser intensity direction and ranging (LiDAR) based inspections are time consuming and expensive. To make safety inspections more efficient and flexible, a low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote-sensing platform, equipped with an optical digital camera, was used to inspect power line corridors. We propose a semi-patch matching algorithm based on epipolar constraints, using both the correlation coefficient (CC) and the shape of its curve to extract three dimensional (3D) point clouds for a power line corridor. We use a stereo image pair from inter-strip to improve power line measurement accuracy by transforming the power line direction to an approximately perpendicular to epipolar line. The distance between the power lines and the 3D point cloud is taken as a criterion for locating obstacles within the power line corridor automatically. Experimental results show that our proposed method is a reliable, cost effective, and applicable way for practical power line inspection and can locate obstacles within the power line corridor with accuracy better than ±0.5 m. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV remote sensing; power line inspection; dense matching; automatic detection of obstacles in power line corridor UAV remote sensing; power line inspection; dense matching; automatic detection of obstacles in power line corridor

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.3390/ijgi6010014
    Description: Video S1: Power line inspection demo. This video demonstrates the reconstruction of three typical landscapes within power line corridor using SPMEC: the first scene includes both the power line and ground surface, second scene is of a rural settlement and the third scene is of a mountainous area.

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Zhang, Y.; Yuan, X.; Fang, Y.; Chen, S. UAV Low Altitude Photogrammetry for Power Line Inspection. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 14.

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