Investing in drone pipeline surveying is an excellent way to keep systems operating in top shape. When you start planning a drone pipeline inspection regime, though, it's important to maximize the returns on your investment. A company should do these four things to get the most from the inspections.
Capture and Archive Videos and Photos
You will want to do more than take a look at a pipeline and check a few items off a list. By capturing and archiving videos and photos of the pipeline, you'll develop a permanent record of the system's condition. If you discover a crack several months down the road, you can review the videos and photos to see if something was overlooked. As necessary, you can change standards and even inspection processes to improve how you survey your organization's systems.
Similarly, archived videos and photos can help you address liability concerns. If an outside party claims a leak has been present for years, you can pull videos and photos from the archives to address such questions quickly.
Gather Telemetry and Other Data
Never focus just on the pipeline. The drone will also provide valuable information as it flies over the site. By gathering telemetry and similar data, you can tie that information to the videos and photos.
Suppose an engineer has questions after seeing a photo of the pipeline. If you have recorded the telemetry, the engineer can assess the situation by determining how far the drone was from the pipeline. They also can look at the time of day to determine where the sun was positioned. For example, this can be helpful if the engineer is trying to determine whether something in a photo is a shadow or not. Likewise, the data can help them determine how big objects are in the images.
A drone pipeline survey is generally going to be cheaper than doing on-site inspections. Consequently, you can conduct more inspections. Particularly if you have pipelines in regions that are remote or difficult to physically access, this can be a difference-maker.
Drone inspections should never be full-on replacements for having boots on the ground. While drone inspections can flag problems you might otherwise overlook, a person will still need to get hands-on with equipment from time to time.
One bonus, though, is you can conduct drone pipeline surveying concurrently. A drone can help an on-the-ground inspector expand their view of potential problems and reach difficult spots. Check out a place like Active Drone Solutions for more information.