ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAInfrastructure & Smart Cities, Energy

Objectives of the service

Vegetation management is one of the main cost centres that TSOs sustain for powerline maintenance.

TSOs cyclically do inspections surveying along the lines to massively collect very-high resolution images or pointclouds of their assets, to detect potential areas where the distance from vegetation to high-voltage power infrastructures is too small (due to grown tree branches or undergrowth).

Those results are then used to plan vegetation trim and coordinate tasks with additional required resources (response teams).

The data acquisition and analysis process to extract this information can be expensive, due to the following: 

  • Difficulties encountered from the response teams to reach the targeted location where powerlines (or other assets) are deployed.

  • There is a huge amount of data which is generated when response teams inspect powerlines, and these data must be managed.

  • There is a high demand in resources and technical experts to achieve the post-analysis of the collected data.

The main objective of the service is to estimate how the space assets (EO data and PNT) can contribute to reduce management costs, considering their unique capability to remotely acquire data without the need for on-field surveys. Fusing different EO sources with 3D asset attributes, using FlySight’s flexible AI software solutions like OPENSIGHT and x-EM business intelligence platform provided by i-EM, can assist in the reduction of cost related to vegetation management while optimising the inspection process.

Users and their needs

SP4GO is of particular interest to:

  • Electric power Transmission System Operators (TSOs)

  • The European association for the cooperation of transmission system operators (ENTSO-E) (, and its members (nine of them are supporting the activities of the demonstration project).

The user needs are strictly related to the three main functions:

  1. Vegetation Management

  2. Change Detection

  3. Disaster Management

For which an integrated intuitive Business Intelligence platform, capable to harmonize confidential assets properties was needed. SP4GO service supports TSOs delivering reliable and accurate data for decision making operations with the provision of a cost effective and value driven SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) application, assisting them in:

  • Detecting risk areas where vegetation is too close to power lines.

  • Predicting risk areas where vegetation will become too close.

  • Detecting new objects and buildings that could be a potential hazard.   

  • Supporting Disaster Management decisions by detecting abrupt anomalies.

  • Providing a ticketing service to support operator decisions

Service/ system concept

The main functions included in SP4GO are:

  1. Vegetation Management for risk assessment and distance detection of vegetation close to power lines.

  2. Change Detection for the identification of new objects and buildings close to power lines.

  3. Disaster Management for the detection of abrupt damages/anomalies close to power lines.

Vegetation Management and Change Detection functions have 2 levels of analysis:

  • At a lower level they perform a qualitative analysis detecting the presence of a change.

  • At a higher level they perform a quantitative analysis too, detecting the extent of change.

The outcomes of the service are based on the use of grid data, open data, numerical weather predictions (NWP) and satellite-derived data.

Space Added Value

SP4GO service exploits Earth Observation (EO) and Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) space assets.

Multiple resolution images from EO satellites are used in all services as a remote and reliable source of data: Archived EO data are used for assessments; quasi real-time data are used for monitoring and for evaluating post-disaster scenarios. The fusion of a number of Earth Observation data sources, contributes to the delivery of a service of better quality and reliability which however is very competitive in terms of cost. 

The Earth Observation (EO) Satellite images provide some unique values: They can be remotely acquired without the need for physical on-field inspections (by land or air).  EO images from sources such as Sentinel-2, are acquired cyclically once a week and can be accessed efficiently. Historical archives of past acquired high resolution images represent an incredible opportunity to reduce maintenance costs and time because they can be accessed immediately. When the utilisation of archived EO data is not sufficient, the solution can automatically task the acquisition of new satellite images.

PNT assets usage is mainly oriented towards georeferencing metadata of acquired images, processed information layers and to geolocate TSOs assets like powerline and towers. 

By combining EO and PNT space assets, the proposed solution is capable of unprecedented data fusion capability for decisions making and optimisation of operations.

Current Status

The SP4GO demonstration project has been successfully concluded.

Through collaboration with potential and future stakeholders and customers of the solution, the three services Vegetation Management, Change Detection and Disaster Management were developed and tested in different operational scenarios. Thanks to the positive feedback, the market potential was analysed and evaluated and contacts were made for the first exploratory pilots for the application of the solution.

Prime Contractor(s)


Status Date

Updated: 26 December 2023