Power lines require regular maintenance to ensure all structural elements are supported. This requires systematic servicing of power line components such as transmission lines and tangent towers among other things. These inspections include complex procedures designed to prevent premature degradation and destruction of power line parts. Furthermore, the company must ensure quality and timeliness of inspections to guarantee power line safety during servicing. To assess the condition of power lines and decide which lines need maintenance, the client chose to conduct a LiDAR survey using UAV. This was the quickest and cheapest option, compared to conducting a similar airborne LiDAR survey. The one drawback of this approach is that the UAV with LiDAR on board provides raw data. Therefore it requires specific, expensive software to process, highly qualified specialists and expertise in cloud of point analysis, 3D analysis, and GIS. Not having such expertise in-house, the energy company was looking for GIS specialists with LiDAR data analysis expertise to successfully use their survey data.

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Commercial vs. Open Source: A comparison of GIS Software

We are conditioned to think that high price equals high value. Because of this, we always assume that something we’ve paid for is better than something free. But is that true in every case?