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Supervised classification of electric power transmission line nominal voltage from high-resolution aerial imagery...

by Erik H Schmidt, Budhendra L Bhaduri, Nicholas N Nagle, Bruce Ralston
Publication Type
Journal Name
GIScience & Remote Sensing
Publication Date
Page Numbers
860 to 879

For many researchers, government agencies, and emergency responders, access to the geospatial data of US electric power infrastructure is invaluable for analysis, planning, and disaster recovery. Historically, however, access to high quality geospatial energy data has been limited to few agencies because of commercial licenses restrictions, and those resources which are widely accessible have been of poor quality, particularly with respect to reliability. Recent efforts to develop a highly reliable and publicly accessible alternative to the existing datasets were met with numerous challenges – not the least of which was filling the gaps in power transmission line voltage ratings. To address the line voltage rating problem, we developed and tested a basic methodology that fuses knowledge and techniques from power systems, geography, and machine learning domains. Specifically, we identified predictors of nominal voltage that could be extracted from aerial imagery and developed a tree-based classifier to classify nominal line voltage ratings. Overall, we found that line support height, support span, and conductor spacing are the best predictors of voltage ratings, and that the classifier built with these predictors had a reliable predictive accuracy (that is, within one voltage class for four out of the five classes sampled). We applied our approach to a study area in Minnesota.