How aerial surveys detect pipe leaks

APEM has developed unique aerial surveys designed specifically for leakage mapping for the water industry.

Our ‘leakage sensor’ can detect leaking pipes – below and above ground – over very large areas. Using aircraft mounted with state-of-the-art camera systems the surveys collect both high resolution multi-spectral and thermal data.

Infra-red image showing potential water pipe leak

Specialist software is then used to pinpoint the tell-tale signs of potential leaks by detecting the changes in growth rates of vegetation and temperature associated with them.

Benefits of aerial surveys

This novel use of aerial surveys helps to locate pipe leaks and diffuse pollution more quickly and cheaply than alternative approaches. It also helps water companies to target the efforts of ground teams to where they are most needed and most cost effective.

Aerial based techniques are also beneficial because they can survey large, remote or inaccessible areas, and because permission from landowners to access their land is not required.

The data generated by the surveys can be used for other projects and for health and safety assessments on subsequent ground visits. In addition, because aerial surveys cover large areas quickly they can capitalise on optimum weather windows.

thermal pipe survey

Air Operator Certificate and PART-SPO

Our Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and PART-SPO registration demonstrate our commitment to operating at the highest standards of health and safety. Together they provide our clients with complete flexibility in carrying expert technicians and task specialists on board our aircraft during surveys.

We operate under our own AOC, fully authorised and audited by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the same rigorous standards required of major airlines.

We are also the first company to successfully register to operate under the new PART-SPO regulations. PART-SPO is a major update to the way that aerial surveys are regulated, signalling both a significant tightening of requirements and a new approach by the CAA.

It covers special operations from aerial photography to aerobatics, parachuting, cloud seeding and animal herding. APEM is registered for aerial photography, surveying and calibration.

If you have any queries, please contact David Campbell, principal remote sensing scientist.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.