GIS Software in Right-of-Way Management of Power Transmission

Divyansh Rajput

Divyansh Rajput , Evangelist at Indshine

May 29, 2020


Right of way mapping is the process of conducting land surveys and determining existing land boundaries. It involves acquiring easement rights by overlaying the proposed design limits over the existing land boundaries. So, for even temporary construction easements both private and public sector gets involved.

Therefore, the right of way projects involve the collection and employment of a large amount of data. The data includes survey images, deeds, construction plans, aerial graphics, and other types of land data. The project data comprises multiple formats including CAD, databases, spreadsheets, etc. The Web GIS Software promises to be a tool competent in integrating all formats of high volume data into a single repository, enabling the user to monitor all phases of the project efficiently.

The ROW analysis requires a three-step approach:

  1. Know your data.
  2. Gather your data
  3. Analyse the data in GIS

Know Your Data —> Gather Your Data —> Analyse data GIS Software

Know your data

GIS is used to overlay right of way requirements for tower placement being crucial for the businesses working in the establishment and operation of transmission lines. GIS further enables us to run a query to identify landowners, vegetation information, elevation information etc. thereby helping in streamlining the right of way activities starting from the property appraisal, property acquisition and property management.

GIS Software - Data used for right-of-way in power transmission

Some of the primary requirements required for ROW analysis are :

  • Geographic datasets: Access to geographic datasets that include factors such as wetlands, site access, protected areas, potential tree trimming sites, regulatory compliance, landowner agreements, and ecological datasets.
  • Operational datasets: Access to strategic maintenance plans, line fault investigation reports, and real-time system operation spreadsheets.
  • Circuit line datasets: Access to transmission circuit line maps in the service territory along with its satellite/aerial imagery.

Gather your data

The data mentioned above are collected from various sources which can be broadly divided into two modes.

  1. Internal: It refers to the collection of necessary data available within the organization i.e. corporate databases. This is achieved through inventory data, spreadsheets, CAD files, document scans, and digital orthophotos.
  2. External: It refers to the collection of data from outside the organization such as government authorities, landowners, open-source geographic datasets, data centres, etc.

The geographical datasets are captured in the form of .shp/.dwg files of forest area and land revenue maps. Circuit line maps are collected in the form of aerial maps.

A sample of the operational datasets for transmission line can be referred here.

Excel sheet sample data in power transmission

3. Analyse the data in GIS

After knowing and gathering the data, the data is best analyzed with GIS software to generate meaningful insights. The various datasets are overlaid as different layers over the base map of the service territory. An organization concerned with the vegetation management techniques around the high voltage transmission lines can import the vegetation datasets along with the transmission line buffer maps to show areas of interest in the line clearing process. The transmission path will be organized by binding the map with the land regulatory dataset to lay-out the sites for which the right of way easements are required. Also, their stages of approval can be updated in real-time using Web GIS Software to issue work mandates to contractors.

Indshine GIS Software provides a complete workspace where every department can update datasets in real-time which improves transmission line operations by getting visual inputs of voltages instead of just numbers.

Here is a sample project to get you started. The following visualization shows the transmission line with towers, overlaid on aerial imagery along with right of way boundaries around the line.

For more sample projects refer to our Project Library and to learn more about use cases of GIS Software follow our blog.

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