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If you have ever had a great day fielding poles you have experienced the mental bliss that comes from a successful day in the field. This joy, while not often acknowledged, is what truly drivesRead More
26 February 2016
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is a nonprofit that oversees and distributes power to residents throughout northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah, covering 27,000 square miles within the Navajo reservation. Many residents live in rural communities without basic utility infrastructure, such as telephones, water, waste water and natural gas services. NTUA attempts to remedy this challenge through the use of federal loans and grants to help extend the needed infrastructure. It currently manages services for more than 39,000 electric and 34,000 water customers.
The Navajo Nation Zoo is the only Native American-owned and -operated zoo in the country. It is located in Window Rock, Arizona, which is the capital of the Navajo Nation, and receives approximately 40,000 visitors per year. It provides a safe habitat for more than 50 species native to the Navajo Nation. The zoo is in the process of building a new aviary, typically used to house birds that are injured or incapable of surviving in the wild. This aviary will host golden eagles, which have a long history with the Navajo culture. The aviary structure will be tall and require the use of a crane during construction. This means the current electrical distribution lines had to be rerouted to accommodate the tall structure.
To further complicate the situation, next to the distribution line is the wolf enclosure. Zoo officials take the health of their animals seriously and always try to avoid any disruptions that may impact the emotional and physical well-being of creatures under their care. It’s also important for the NTUA operations team to be in a safe environment when performing its work. The need to design a new distribution route with minimum interruption to the wolves and without exposing the workers to danger would be challenging.
Because NTUA agreed to provide the needed services pro bono in support of the Navajo Nation Zoo, it needed to ensure that the project would be managed efficiently and done correctly the first time. Any rebuilds would be expensive and directly affect NTUA’s bottom line.
To overcome the logistical challenge of collecting the necessary measurements and geolocation data needed for the design of a new distribution route, Michael Cheromiah, AutoCAD operator with NTUA, used his IKE 3 device to capture the needed information from a distance. IKE 3 is a field data collection tool that integrates a digital camera with a laser rangefinder, compass and inclinometer that produces a calibrated image, which includes measurement and GPS coordinates of a structure. The image can be taken from a remote location yet still capture the measurements needed for engineering services to develop a new overhead distribution line.
Because the zoo land was donated many years ago with boundaries loosely identified by rock formations and other structural points, there were no formal GPS coordinates to determine the zoo’s property lines. Due to the unavailability of right-of-way coordinates, the IKE Local Point tool was used to help capture coordinates to propose a fence line perimeter.
Measurements were also taken to verify height clearances needed. Because the ground was not level, various elevation measurements of the ground to the top of the pole had to be calculated to ensure ground clearance and any cable sag met safety requirements. Cheromiah used IKE 3 to capture images that provided for these measurements.
Finally, Cheromiah again used the Target Position image to capture the GPS coordinates for the proposed new pole locations to aid in proposed line design. Using IKE’s accurate GPS data, NTUA captured the measurement and location information needed for a proposed redesign of electrical distribution system for the zoo with minimal intrusion on its wolf population.
One of the benefits for the NTUA team was the need to only carry one piece of equipment in the field. In the hot Arizona climate, it’s easy to become overheated with continuous exertion. Prior to using IKE, field teams had to carry multiple pieces of equipment, including a GPS device, scale, hot stick, camera and various other items, to acquire the same information that one IKE 3 device can collect.
With the new distribution line in place, the aviary began construction in October 2015 with plans to finish in the spring of 2016 when it will be ready to share the beauty of the golden eagles with zoo visitors.
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