Optus Vision, Brisbane Australia

Rapid capture of utility pole asset information helps Optus Vision establish the most efficient route and minimise the number of signal amplifiers for cable TV network

Business Challenge
The introduction by the Australian Federal government of Subscription Television Licences gave Optus an opportunity to compete on a par with Telstra by laying its own fibre communications network.

A joint venture company, Optus Vision, was founded to handle residential cable television and local telephony in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Optus Vision utilised the Optus television licence as its authority to build a cable network that would pass 2.4 million residences.

The design and installation of Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) cable networks require knowledge of existing power pole infrastructure and location. However, in the case of Brisbane, a suitable spatial database of utility poles owned by the electrical utility Energex, was unavailable.

Due to its expertise in asset capture services and the tight project timeframes, Geomatic Technologies (GT) was asked by Optus Vision to undertake asset capture services in the Brisbane area. The proposal to capture this information was at the time considered the largest utility asset capture project ever undertaken in Australia.

Services Overview
GT was required to accurately position (±1 m) assets such as poles, lights, service connections and transformers. Important attribute information was collected at each location including if the pole was wood, steel or concrete, the high and low voltage connections and their span distance.

The connecting feeder cables were mapped and attributed with the property’s street address and were classified as either domestic, commercial or Multi Dwelling Unit. This level of data collection allowed Optus Vision to build an accurate and functional Geographic Information
System (GIS) for the management of its assets and most importantly, the design of the new HFC network.

GT’s team was comprised of surveyors equipped with vehicles, differential GPS or Global Positioning System satellite positioning units, reflector less lasers and in-car computer equipment to undertake the asset capture work.

Surveys were conducted using a ‘two pass system’ with utility pole locations and public lighting locations collected at night and teams capturing pole attributes and connections during daylight.

This also enabled the field operators to validate the positions collected from the first pass for accuracy.

Outcomes
In relation to the Optus Vision utility pole capture project, GT delivered well structured spatial  data to the client that:
–  Was captured using rapid technology-based surveying methods in order to meet the  client’s tight timeframe.
–  Was easily imported into Optus Vision’s GIS and network design software.
–  Was integral to Optus Vision’s selection of the most efficient HFC route design, while  minimising the number of expensive signal amplifiers needed across the network.