Establishing and maintaining network-wide vegetation analysis and reporting.

Background
A utility with over 15,000 miles of distribution network was seeking to digitize their asset management and analysis processes. 

The network had a mix of urban and heavily forested rural areas and the utility was seeking a comprehensive understanding of the state of vegetation encroachment from a regulatory and risk-based perspective.

Challenge
The utility had not previously collected LiDAR for its network. Vegetation management was a manual process based on inspections and comprehensive trimming campaigns on a regional basis. 

Neara was engaged to provide:

  • A baseline analysis of vegetation across the network from a regulatory perspective 
  • Tools to monitor and compare vegetation over time and the progress of cutting campaigns 
  • Implementation of interactive dashboards to visualize and digest vegetation encroachment data for internal and external stakeholder reporting

Solution
Neara Analytics is a network-wide, fully-customizable analytics and reporting platform. 

Neara Analytics combines detailed per-asset analysis with whole-of-network scale. Users can precisely define any number of spatial or structural scenarios of interest and run them across the network. They can also view and analyze results globally, or drill into individual asset profile details in a 3D, multi-layered, and wholly interactive environment. 

As a cloud-based software solution, sharing and collaborating on workflows, reports, and dashboards is effortless. Users on any computer can leverage the same analytical tools and insights.

Delivery

  1. Centralized data and the digital twin: Neara Analytics was used to auto-generate a network-wide digital twin based on LiDAR scans and the utility’s historic network GIS mapping. Discrepancies between GIS layer and LiDAR capture were automatically reconciled while producing QA reports of all significant changes.
  1. Network-wide analysis and asset management: With Neara Analytics’ dynamic spatial formula tools, regulatory exclusion zones were mapped across the network and incursions. In addition, Neara’s automatic tree segmentation algorithm was used to convert LiDAR vegetation layers into individual trees. This per-tree mapping allowed the growth rate of each tree to be recorded and analyzed over time. 
  1. Cloud-based collaboration: Network-wide regulatory encroachment results are then delivered via interactive dashboards.

Outcomes

The network-wide digital twin and the customized reporting produced with Neara Analytics, satisfied the utility’s regulatory requirements and have been leveraged to develop a sophisticated, risk-based approach to vegetation. 

Neara has delivered network-wide vegetation encroachment reports and dashboards for the client’s specific use-cases. 

Neara Analytics vegetation dashboard with detailed encroachment visualization and network-wide analytics interfaces.

The Neara Analytics platform has enabled the utility to begin designing its own custom encroachment formulas and to compare expected trimming expenditure to budget estimates.

With these insights established, subsequent work will be done to deliver risk-based analysis, intelligent budgeting, and the development of risk/cost trade-offs. 

Encroachment zone visualizations.

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