Leak Detection From Outer Space Highlights Utilis Exhibit at WEFTEC

Technology analyzes images captured by satellite

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Utilis exhibited its technology for detecting leaks in urban water distribution and transmission networks from satellites during WEFTEC earlier this month.

The technology is based on the analysis of images captured by a satellite-mount adapted from academic projects that searched for water on other planets. The company says its methodology, combined with existing acoustic verification, approaches double to triple leak detection efficiency.

Satellites orbiting the earth at high altitude can process images covering up to 1,300 square miles, thus taking in entire distribution systems. The technology can be used regardless of weather conditions and time of the day.

The technology uses sensors that detect treated water by looking for a particular spectral signature typical of drinking water. The raw imagery is overlaid on GIS and processed by proprietary algorithms. Users then receive a graphic leakage report overlaid on a GIS map showing streets and pipes.

The technique requires no preparation and significantly reduces field labor. An entire water system can be surveyed a few times per year versus every two or three years by conventional methods. Priority leaks can be targeted quickly, reducing potential damage and claims, according to the company.


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