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Underwater Pipeline Mapping in 3-D - Immersion Strategies

5/13/2014 4:00:00 AM

Ian in San Fran tools at workbench

Immersive mapping technologies can provide efficient and accurate information that reduces costs, speeds construction and maintenance, and provides a safer environment for underwater pipeline mapping.

Underwater construction and rehabilitation of pipelines can be a challenging and labor-intensive process. Couple this with inadequate or unknown coordinates for pipes and efficiency is not something you are likely to rely on. 

But, what if immersive mapping technologies could be deployed to provide efficient and accurate information that reduces costs, speeds construction and maintenance, and provides a safer environment for both the divers and future stakeholders? Geospatial Corporation was contracted to do exactly that – and they delivered.

Fully submerged, at a depth of 60-feet, a 38-inch pipeline in a potable water reservoir posed these unique location challenges for construction and future maintenance in Northern California.

To perform this underwater task, Geospatial utilized their Smart Probe Mapping device in conjunction with a specialized carrier that could be hand-propelled by a team of hard-hat divers. The pipeline was “un-piggable” ” (i.e. un-traceable with a probe) by conventional means so training the divers to perform this delicate work was the most logical step. A 19-degree bend with 5 – flanges (4” thick) made the diver’s skill and fluidity of the utmost importance.

The work was performed from a barge in the reservoir. Three teams of divers made a total of 6 - round-trip passes through the pipe, collecting a total of 12 data sets. Each pass of the 360-foot section of pipe took approximately 45-minutes, allowing each dive team to accrue two data-sets within their allotted 2-hour dive period.

After completion of the data-collection, Geospatial Corporation was able to verify consistency of the mapping results and begin post-processing at their headquarters. Upon completion, an accurate 3-dimensional map of the centerline of the pipeline was created. Geospatial’s findings were reported via AutoCAD and GeoUnderground for effective and adaptable use of the deliverable. This data is now readily available and useful for both the client's construction needs, and for critical and immediate demands in the future.

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