REN - Rede Electrica Nacional, is an operator of the national electricity transmission network of Portugal that manages 8970 km of powerlines and 1375 km of gas pipelines.
These two types of critical infrastructures are subject to various risks that can affect the arrival of both electricity and gas to all consumers.
Most of the powerlines are aerial and obstacles that arise in their vicinities like natural and spontaneous vegetation, constructions, whose growth, fall or partial destruction, can interfere with them. This interference can lead to short circuits, breaking of electric lines and poles, fires with consequent destruction of the network and potential impacts to the natural environment. For pipelines, land monitoring is of vital importance due to the possibility of occurrence of subsidence or landslide events that would jeopardize the good status of the infrastructure and consequently their function.
ICNF – Instituto da Concervação da Natureza e das Florestas is the Portuguese government body responsible for planning and monitoring the forest use and conservation. ICNF manages around 1.2 million ha of primary firebreak network that includes the firebreaks surrounding infrastructures, such as houses or urban-forest interfaces
As a complementary solution, or in some cases an alternative, to the current helicopter and field inspections, RESUCI addresses the technical and commercial feasibility of using earth observation services to keep track of the aforementioned potential risks to both powerlines and pipelines and to help on the implementation and maintenance firebreak networks.
Users and their needs
The main users of this project will be REN, an operator of the national electricity transmission network of Portugal and ICNF, a public institution responsible for planning and monitoring the forest use and conservation.
The identified user needs, to be tackled with RESUCI, were:
- Land use categorization
- Detection of potential obstacles (man-made, natural) in the powerlines protection corridors;
- Detection of new human activity in the vicinity of protection corridors;
- Verification the work of the maintenance teams;
- Increase efficiency through improved planning and prioritizing of the field maintenance and inspections work;
- Estimation of the effort needed for the field maintenance; and
Overview and detailed land use mapping in support to development of a new infrastructure or maintenance and inspections operations on existing infrastructure.
Service/ system concept
RESUCI will provide users with increased capabilities do assess critical aspects of its operations.
All the information extracted from EO and GNSS data will be processed and analysed together, in order to provide a full picture of what is happening on the different areas subject to analysis.
This will be done by providing the user different layers of information such as:
- Percentage of area occupied by potential obstacles on protection corridors
- Detection and categorisation of potential obstacles on protection corridors
- Timespan analysis to study the evolution of the surroundings of critical infrastructures
- Identification of areas that were subject to maintenance operations
- Technical reports
The main components of the proposed system are:
Space Added Value
RESUCI will use EO and GNSS data to achieve what was proposed. These have big advantages when compared with traditional monitoring methods due to:
- The ability to generate products in different spectral bands (electromagnetic radiation) in addition to the information that is visible, which makes it possible to study in detail certain chemical and physical properties of objects that are not understandable to the naked eye.
- The integrated view of space allow to understand relationship between the different components to be analyzed and the surrounding landscape;
- The ability to obtain data at a distance, without the need to move teams on the ground, as well as to acquire such data on remote or inaccessible regions;
- The opportunity to work with satellite data at different scales allows a synoptic view of all the space of interest, to a detailed view of the objects of interest, compatible with the resolution of the sensor system used;
- The possibility of temporal analysis, through the repetitive coverage of a single point on the earth's surface by the successive passages of the satellite(s);
- Digital image processing allows the production and analysis of results in a fast and automated way, as well as its immediate integration with information systems, geographically and non-geographically based.
At 6 months of project the consortium has proven the technical feasibility of using EO and GNSS data not only to map and characterize the land use in protection corridors but also to monitor the maintenance operations carried out on these same protection corridors.
For this, high (Sentinel 2) and very resolution (World View) images were used as input data to develop a prototype solution that was tested successfully on a pilot area that was chosen in articulation with the end user REN
The second versions of the deliverables D1 - User Requirements and Business Opportunities, D2 - Technical Feasibility assessment and D3 - Business Plan were finished and presented to ESA on the scope of the second project review milestone - Business Case Review.
The consortium is now beginning to work on the outline proposal for the demonstration project.