Bluesky granted funding for mobile phone mapping project

February 9, 2017  - By 0 Comments

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.

Working in partnership with ADAS, an environmental consultancy, the co-funded project will utilize a wealth of experience gained through previous data capture and management projects with electricity Distribution Network Operator (DNO) companies in the U.K. 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,” says Rachel Tidmarsh, managing director for Bluesky. “By offering more cost effective data capture, upload, analysis and dissemination, we can significantly increase an operator’s potential return on investment, releasing essential funds for network upgrades and improvements. We will also look to 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 utilizing readily available mobile phone technology, Bluesky hopes to reduce this cost by operators 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.

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. By exploiting its expertise in aerial surveying and production of derived datasets, Bluesky plans to apply these techniques to mobile phone video footage.

The final Bluesky solution will include data processing and hosting, offered on an annual subscription or on a project basis.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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