Advanced measurement equipment is nowadays easily available and affordable to companies performing underwater inspections or airborne measurements. Data acquisition from under and above water is becoming more common and 3D data more voluminous as companies, cities, and third sector organizations are eager to have their assets digitalized. This also means increase in the amount of data acquisition related service providers in the field, which may lead to increased variability in quality of the data. In this article we discuss the ingredients of top quality survey data.

Choose the survey and inspection tools according to the task

It is a different job to perform hydrographic survey or inspect complex oil jetty structures. Therefore the survey methods should also be different, starting all the way from sonar’s frequency to the data analysis. When choosing the methods and tools, it is important to consider what is essential for the client. Does the client need a full structural survey report or would a visualization of the asset provide good enough value? Are there areas, where drone survey could provide extra value for the client, or is laser scanning going to cover the needed structures well enough?

Planning the 3D survey

As survey works often are targeted to areas important to asset owner’s business, minimum downtime is appreciated. Therefore, it is very important to plan the field work in close cooperation with the client’s team in order to align your schedule with the client’s everyday operations. Pay attention to the traffic, daylight and tides, to weather forecasts, and make sure your timetable allows possible reruns.

Quality control is essential in every phase of project

Quality control is more than just calibration of survey equipment and looking at the gathered data in close detail. The quality control process should begin from the first conversation with the client, because the surveyor needs to understand the client’s needs and wishes in order to evaluate the best possible service offering for the client. The survey work itself has many obligatory procedures, and therefore it is critical to monitor the survey in real time in order to adjust the survey equipment settings in real time based on the inspected object and constantly changing environment.

Finally, data post processing is a phase that cannot be underestimated. Even carefully gathered data can be deficient if the positioning is wrong, cleaning of the data done poorly, or there are big gaps in the data. Decent data analysis requires precise data.

Accurate 3D survey data provides value only when it is fully utilized in asset operations

The most important issue in case of any kind of data is how it is used and utilized. If the data lies forgotten, perhaps summarized in a word document with few screen shots, your hard work is not likely to provide the best value for the client. The problem is that the 3D data, such as point clouds, is hard to understand if you are not “in” the technology. Therefore, the survey data needs to be visualized and then shared in a format reachable to all relevant stakeholders.

The simplest way to do this is to deliver the data online, meaning there is no need for software installations or special expertise. In other words, everyone is able to access the data and analyze the results anywhere, anytime. Additionally, an online survey data platform saves the surveyor’s time by eliminating the need for re-editing the 3D inspection report for extra visualizations and resending the point cloud files. A thorough interpretation by a professional inspector highlights the areas of special concern within the inspected structures and areas. The observations and the areas of concerns should be discussed with the customer in order to ensure the data will be fully utilized.

3D data can be a magnificent tool for asset integrity management in case it is utilized in the client’s everyday operations and further enriched with the additional asset information of the client. Contact us by filling the form below to discuss more about the value of 3D survey data utilization, turn-key solutions for 3D surveying, and data management.



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Karri Kolehmainen & Ville Mäkeläinen

Karri Koistinen

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