A large aspect of the fire risk mitigation efforts of San Diego Gas & Electric involves replacement of antiquated overhead distribution lines in fire-prone areas. To better design these power lines into fire-hardened materials and updated construction standards survey-grade LiDAR, Light/Laser Detection, and Ranging, technology is used to map the terrain and conductor clearances. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have been shown to capture this data with the resolution needed to support this ongoing distribution reconductor program with great cost efficiencies. However, the data collected is immense and difficult to share with other stakeholders that might benefit from the more accurate GIS (Geographical Information System) data or aerial imagery collected. SDG&E, in its participation in the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) research and development efforts, has explored how this data can be visualized and shared for future use cases that will allow better design, project management, and risk reduction efforts.
Drew Smith is an Engineer II working in the Electric Distribution Engineering group at San Diego Gas & Electric. A part of the Risk and Technical Analysis Team, Drew’s duties vary from data analytics, risk modeling, and power quality. Drew is also an FAA Part 107 certified UAS Remote Pilot with overhead power line inspection experience that has helped support field inspections and has participated in shaping SDG&E’s future UAS strategies. Drew Smith graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Environment and Society and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of California.
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