TXU Energy (Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.) will use fixed-wing LiDAR technology to map 400-ft (122-m)-wide corridors for more than 450 miles (724 km) of its existing transmission rights of way (R/W). High-resolution still photographs of pole and tower structures, full-motion video and ortho-photography also will also acquired. Advanced laser technology with very high pulse rates facilitates rapid collection of data, thus enabling the use of a fixed-wing aircraft rather than a helicopter. For this series of lines the broader-than-usual corridors proved to be more competitive than the 200-ft (61-m) swath typically collected from helicopters. Flying the R/W higher, often at 1500 ft (457 m), causes minimal disturbance to residents and domestic animals.

Potential benefits of the additional data coverage include risk assessment and analysis of vegetation in the R/W (danger trees and encroachment determination). It also offers the ability to investigate the relocation of structures within the corridor should the need arise.

Optimal Geomatics (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) has been contracted to provide these specialized LiDAR survey services. Optimal will deliver data in formats suitable for both PoleCAD and PLSCADD, which TXU's in-house designers and engineering consultants will be using for 2005 scheduled projects. Optimal will also provide comprehensive CAD plan drawings in MicroStation format to give TXU a permanent record of each line. These drawings will incorporate video and still imagery integrated into the CAD graphics that are viewable with the click of a mouse. For more information, visit www.optimalgeo.com.