Corridor Mapping - Pipeline

UAV LiDAR is a beneficial tool for mapping of natural gas piplines.

Building and maintaining safe and reliable energy and transportation corridors can present a multitude of challenges. Often traversing dangerous and remote areas, it can be particularly difficult to survey, map, analyze, and monitor corridors, putting these critical assets at risk.

One important advancement in the field of corridor mapping has been the adoption of drone- based 3D LiDAR mapping technology.

Drone LiDAR technology, such as RedTail LiDAR Systems‘ RTL-400, produces highly accurate, high-resolution point cloud images of the earth’s surface rapidly and cost effectively over large areas.

These high-resolution images can be used to create Digital Elevation Models (DEM) that provide accurate topographic data representing surface variabilities and improving the ability to measure and monitor morphological changes across a variety of spatial scales. LiDAR’s high-resolution imagery is capable of identifying even subtle topographic features such as nearly vertical regions of exposed soil and rock at the head of a slip, piles of rock debris at the foot of a cliff, and small mounds or knolls that are all indicative of past and active slope failures.

Compared to traditional surveying methods, the use of drone-based LiDAR allows for the inspection of miles of corridor assets, in very short time periods, providing more precise, accurate and consistent data, and improving overall ROI.UAVUAV

The RedTail LiDAR Systems team recently partnered with an award-winning engineering firm to map a natural gas pipeline and access road project located in rural, eastern West Virginia utilizing the RTL-400.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the project:

The Task(s): The engineering firm has a long-term contract to monitor the health of an access road and natural gas pipeline constructed by an oil and gas company. They provide a minimum annual inspection of twice a year, provide rapid response to notices of hazards or risk, monitor vegetation growth, and make recommendations for slip repair and prevention.

Following a significant rain event, the firm was contacted about a possible slip on the access road and the firm responded to investigate.

The Terrain: The access road and natural gas pipeline are located in a very rural part of eastern West Virginia which is part of the Appalachian Plateau Province. Due to the cohesive soils formed on the steeper slopes(silts and clays), slope failures are common in this area and can be triggered by precipitation events, gravity, and human activities.

The site was approximately 13 acres, comprised of very steep terrain and included a manmade retaining wall and several trees approximately 80-100 feet in height.

The pipeline traverses under the access road (dirt and loose gravel), making monitoring the integrity of the road and adjacent hill sides of paramount importance. The road is not frequently traveled.

The RedTail LiDAR Systems Flight: The RedTail LiDAR Systems team created a flight plan and flew the 13-acre site at a speed of 18 mph, and an altitude of 100 ft in 10 minutes. Typically, a drone flight like this would require two crew members, one drone pilot and one observer.

(See images at right.)

In comparison, if the firm deployed a crew and used traditional survey methods for this assessment, they would likely have sent 2-4 crew members and would have allocated several days to a week to survey the site given its remote location and dangerous terrain.

Why Use the RedTail LiDAR System? Designed specifically for use on small drones, the RTL-400 was developed with technology licensed from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and designed to provide high-resolution 3D images of objects on the ground, flying at an altitude of up to 400 ft.

The RTL-400 incorporates an innovative microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirror-based laser scanner that rapidly and evenly distributes laser pulses to the ground, moving side-to-side 400 times per second. Combined with a laser pulse rate of up to 400,000 pulses per second, and an optimized scan angle of 30 degrees, the point cloud images that are generated are unprecedented in resolution and density.

Easy-to-use and easy-to-operate, the RTL-400 weighs in at 4.7 lbs. and offers the unique capability of 2 scanning modes, the 3D line scan mode and a 30 x 30 raster scan mode for “stand and stare” missions, providing unmatched operational flexibility.

Benefits of the RTL-400 to the Firm: Utilizing the RTL-400 3D lidar mapping system for this project provided several benefits to the firm over traditional surveying methods.

They included:

  • Collected high-resolution, highly accurate data in one deployment
  • Reduced risk for manned survey crews
  • Reduced man hours for site assessment
  • Recognized cost savings in the reduction of data processing time
  • Reduced cost in man hours and travel time for face-to-face meetings by presenting electronic data and findings to clients via web meetings
  • Improved overall ROI

Designed specifically for use on drones, the RedTail LiDAR System is the optimal tool to help you plan, build, and monitor your next corridor project.

Contact us today to learn more about the RedTail LiDAR System’s RTL-400.

RedTail Drone LiDAR Mapping - Pipeline inspection
RedTail UAV LiDAR Mapping - LADAR Pipeline Mapping
RedTail Drone LiDAR Mapping
RedTail Drone LiDAR Mapping - Pipeline corridor mapping



RedTail UAV LiDAR Infrastructure Mapping Application

Designed specifically for small unmanned aerial vehicles, the RedTail LiDAR System is a superior point cloud generation tool that can help you survey, map, analyze and monitor all of your infrastructure projects.

​The RedTail LiDAR System quickly creates high resolution point clouds which can be imported directly into mapping, design, and engineering software solutions, allowing you to assess and complete your infrastructure projects more effectively.

​From power lines and pipelines, to railways and roadways, data collected with the RedTail LiDAR System can be used to:

  • create detailed topographic maps
  • perform boundary surveys
  • inspect and monitor conditions of existing infrastructure
  • collect accurate position information of wires, structures, vegetation and terrain
  • improve maintenance planning and scheduling for screws and equipment
  • monitor vegetation and terrain changes around power lines and pipelines
  • monitor environmental conditions before and after an infrastructure development project
  • evaluate how new structures will integrate into an existing landscape

The RedTail LiDAR System is the optimal solution for your infrastructure surveying, mapping, inspecting, analyzing, and monitoring needs.


RedTail drone liDAR Construction Application

Designed specifically for small unmanned aerial vehicles, the RedTail LiDAR System is a superior point cloud generation tool that can help you manage all stages of the construction process.

​With no interference to operations or construction activities, the RedTail LiDAR System quickly creates high resolution point clouds which can be imported directly into construction and architectural software solutions.

​From roadways and waterways, to airports and commercial development projects, data collected with the RedTail LiDAR System can be used to:

  • ​conceptualize designs
  • evaluate sightlines and distances
  • complete topographic maps and boundary surveys
  • confirm as-bid conditions
  • determine flood elevations
  • map vegetation and wetlands to support environmental assessment studies
  • monitor construction impacts
  • survey projects in hazardous areas without endangering the crew or the public
  • document as-built plan

The RedTail LiDAR System is the optimal solution for construction project planning, mapping, and monitoring.