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Visualizing Pole Data

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OSP engineering can be tricky. In the world of pole surveys, we often work long hours in less-than-ideal field conditions while doing our best to collect each piece of data perfectly the first time.

a katapult field worker working in less than ideal conditions with about a foot of water

We also need to understand the physics at play in pole loading analysis, as well as come up with creative solutions for difficult make ready situations. Projects require intense involvement from the very beginning until the very end, and communication between parties can be difficult. Additionally, it's rare that everyone involved is working off the same version of data. The problem of version control is a major threat to efficiency because it can lead to missed and wrong data collection.

There is an amazing amount of data that needs to be collected, processed, and delivered with complete accuracy. Even if we assume that we only need 25 data points for each pole (pictures, heights, locations, pole class, span angles, insulators, bolts, etc), a 100-mile survey for a large deployment project is going to have 100,000+ unique datum that are all necessary to complete pole loading analysis, make ready, and permitting.

a shot of a telephone and all of it's wires

A problem arises in issues like make ready disputes, where you may need to prove that one or two poles in your job do not need to be replaced. With such a flood of data, finding the specific pieces of information needed can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Finding that needle quickly, however, is absolutely crucial.

As messy as it is to work with such immense volumes of data, there are many extraordinary men and women in our industry that do it every day. Doing so allows projects to reclaim lost margins; stretching each dollar to better serve customers.

At Katapult, we built a platform that would help us track down specific survey datum faster than ever before. Most of us wouldn't be able to maintain our projects' massive amounts of information without such a highly-developed tool.

Katapult Pro is the aggregate of several useful tools that work together to keep each project organized and easy to review. The first tool is Maps, which lets us design and manipulate nodes and connections (poles and spans) on top of the Google Maps API.

Katapult's geo-mapping software KatpaultPro with poles overalayed

We use bright colors and contrasting symbols to clearly distinguish poles, crossovers, span heights, and more. As the project gets more complex, the more colors and shapes we'll use in our design. No matter how convoluted the scope becomes, our staff can quickly find exactly what they are looking for and pull up the data they need.

Our other major tool is Photos, where we can access any of the uploaded job pictures with the click of a button. You can access Photos anywhere that has an internet connection--we have a group of staff members who calibrate and categorize job pictures remotely.

an annotated height short in KatapultPro

Data entered on pictures in Photos can be pulled into the map with the press of a button. After our remote staff has finished calibrating and categorizing pictures for a job, we can pull all the pictures and data into Maps for further processing.

user interface of KatapultPro that's looking at pole data

We also use Photos to trace wires along our job. By connecting our labeled measurements for power and communication lines across our job, we can export cleanly to pole loading platforms like SPIDACalc, O-Calc, and PoleForeman.

cable tracing view in katapultPro that looks at two poles and the midspan between them

The intersection of these two tools can be found in the pole or span's information panel. If you select a pole from the Map, you can see all the information for the pole as well as the photos associated to it. You can also get a snapshot of the measured heights in the main picture to the left.

KatapultPro mapping software with some pole details up on the screen

Once our data is processed, we can download all the poles' custom deliverables in a zipped file. Don't need to run every pole through SPIDACalc? You can also download data and exports for just a single pole in your job.

user interface for looking at pole data in KatapultPro

Our system is set up to handle large volumes, but it's also geared toward finding the needles in the haystack of project data. Katapult Pro allows users to quickly track down the information they need without having to be fully involved in a project from its beginning stages.

From power specs to make ready moves, there's a Katapult Pro solution to help users visualize their full project and each piece of seemingly endless data.

If you're looking for a comprehensive tool that makes finding the data you need easier than ever, I'd love to set up a demo. Call us at (717) 432-0716 to learn more!

Adam SchmehlKatapult Pro