Remote sensing based surveillance is about monitoring and detecting changes on ROU and around pipeline networks. Timely precise detection of activities affecting pipeline integrity ensures: faster problem resolution, avoidance of disasters, reduction in cost of maintenance and payout for damages.
The paper is about development of an IT enabled solution and implementation by using repetitive satellite images over the pipeline corridor for detecting encroachments, digging, erosion and subsidence. It describes the journey of conceptualizing the solution based on experience of using satellite imagery and experience of subsequent implementation of the concept. The paper compares innovative satellite imagery based inspection with traditional aerial surveillance and contemporary optical fiber/ultrasonic based surveillance.
The script elaborates the various steps of detecting changes on the pipeline corridor and its surroundings, with scientific precision, from desktops located 1000’s of miles away. Details of activities like pipeline DGPS survey, capturing latitudes-longitudes of pipeline centerline, programming for periodic imagery acquisition, establishing the buried pipeline line over the images are articulated in depth. The article brings forward the intricacies of comparing satellite images for detecting changes. It elaborates the process of automating change detection activity by building algorithms from change detection experience on the same corridor over time, eliminating false alarms.
The article narrates the experience from the limited implementation of this innovative solution with Asia’s largest pipeline operator, the visible results, the perceived advantages and the lessons learnt. Insights derived from pilot, benefits to pipeline operators, environmental and social impact are discussed at length. Lastly the paper elaborates on the flip side of using satellite images for surveillance and alternatives to overcome the shortcomings. Concluding the paper states the commercial advantages, scientific edge, the precision and accuracy in detecting changes in and around transmission pipelines and integration of the application with other contemporary pipeline applications.