Drones Inspect Cell Towers for Damage Post-Hurricane
Wireless communication access proves critical in disaster response
The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) Defense and Homeland Security Innovation Lab is conducting drone video inspection of cell towers in Houston, post Hurricane Harvey with the help of Maser Consulting P.A. in. Wireless communications are important for rescue and recovery efforts, not only in civil command and control operations, but in the efforts of concerned citizens rescuing thousands of residents from flooded homes.
“We have teamed with Maser Consulting to have two crews on site in Houston to conduct video inspections for several major telecommunications companies,” says Retired General Bill Marshall, NJII’s assistant vice president, government affairs, defense and homeland security. “We worked closely with Maser to secure the UAV pilots, create the inspection schedule, and are actively monitoring progress, which so far has been excellent.”
Maintaining telecommunication infrastructure during and after hurricanes is essential to the communications of emergency personnel and the peace of mind of people within the affected area. Unmanned aerial system (UAS) crews perform initial site assessments to determine accessibility to cell towers so telecommunication companies can assign repair crews where the most impact can be made. They also perform advanced data acquisition to assess the condition of the cell tower site with up-to-date information to streamline repair activities.
Once repairs have been made, UAS crews can return to the site and access the quality of the repairs to give telecommunication clients confidence that their equipment is operating effectively.
“Our UAS flight teams are subject matter experts and are FAA Part 107 certified,” says Rob Dannenberg, Maser Consulting’s chief pilot and director of UAV services. “To ensure the comprehensive inspection of the towers, we utilize professional grade-UAS flight platforms combined with advanced sensors and data processing. This delivers timely, high-accuracy data to clients, enabling them to make better informed decisions rapidly.”
In damaged areas, UAS crews can perform video inspection to assess, for example, whether or not the cell site is safely accessible by repair crews, if flooding would prevent them from reaching the towers, and/or the condition of ground-level generators that power the towers that may be submerged in floodwaters.
About Maser Consulting
Maser Consulting offers advanced survey services to rail customers nationwide through the use of GPS, geospatial survey including mobile LiDAR and the AMBERG GRP system. The firm employs standard and creative solutions for capturing comprehensive track geometry and corridor data in the unique rail and tunnel environments backed by a full range of engineering and design services.