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Victorian utility deploys drones to boost its inspection procedures

Victorian utility Gippsland Water has embraced drones as a high-tech way of carrying out inspections of sites with limited access, among other essential tasks.

The utility said the drones are saving money and improving safety.

Gippsland Water Managing Director Sarah Cumming said the drones are improving the utility’s processes.

“We have a lot of infrastructure that can be difficult to access and inspect,” Cumming said.

“Flying a drone around a water tower to take video can eliminate the need to work from heights and enable us to perform an inspection from the safety of the ground.

“Then a year later, at the click of a button, we can record the exact same path to observe if there are any changes to that tower worth investigating.”

Cumming listed creating maps, monitoring environmental sites and performing land surveys as being among the drone’s other tasks.

“Our maintenance engineers have used drones to create photographic 2D maps and 3D models of various sites,” she said.

“The drone does this by hovering above the site, taking hundreds of photographs and then stitching them together to create one very detailed image.

“From a computer in our Traralgon office, our engineers are using 3D models of our facilities to plot exactly where new buildings can be located before any detailed designs are completed.”


Cumming said that Gippsland Water and its contractors would continue to explore further ways to use the technology.

“Embracing new technologies that make the job safer for our team, reduce costs for our customers and improve reliability at an affordable cost is all part of our strategic shift towards becoming a more digital utility,” Cumming said.

The utility’s use of the drones has met Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations for drone use and safety and privacy.