Airport Business

FEB-MAR 2018

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TECHNOLOGY 36 airportbusiness February/March 2018 By Jason Shivar 3D Mapping for Airfield Lighting Systems The advent of 3D mapping technology can be a powerful tool when tackling airfield lighting at your airport. As airports continually expand to meet the demands of the growing travel population, the electrical and lighting infrastructure has to keep pace to ensure safety and reliability. By incorpo- rating 3D mapping tools into a project, teams not only have a two-dimensional (2D) representation of each circuit and airfield lighting component, but also an additional 3D representation of the system for better visualization. Recently, a groundbreaking use of 3D map- ping for an airport's electrical system occurred at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). Not only is ATL the world's busiest airport for the past 18 years, but it is also the most illuminated, housing one of the most extensive airfield lighting systems. With more than 20,000 lights, 700 guid- ance signs, 600 manholes and 800 miles of cable, the resulting map is quite complex. To meet the demands of the increase in passengers over the years, significant airport expansion has occurred, including upgrades and growth to the airfield light - ing system. These upgrades added a substantial number of electrical wires, manholes and other system parts below ground, which occupy the same space in electrical manholes as live, dead or abandoned wires. Understanding the challenges ahead, ATL relied on its partners at AIS, an Atlanta-based joint venture team that brings together the expertise of Pond, Michael Baker International and CERM, to develop a solution that accurately documents the airfield lighting system. Ultimately, the findings could be applied to maintaining the existing elec- trical system while developing designs for future airfield construction improvement activities. To accomplish the project's goals, a unique solution was developed that utilizes 3D mapping to show and visualize the major parts of the air- field lighting system. Using this technology, the 3D map shows users an accurate and realistic representation of the major parts of the airfield lighting system. For something as complex as the airfield lighting system, this makes it easier for users to obtain information that they need from the as-built. The resulting 3D map for ATL allows airport personnel to easily identify what is in each man- hole and conduit. With such an expansive airfield lighting system, electrical wires — including not only live wires, but dead or abandoned ones as well — tend to get tangled in the ducts and manholes, which makes troubleshooting a circuit very diffi- cult. In an airport environment where seemingly small delays can have a ripple effect on flight departure times, providing a simple and visu- ally-conducive solution for maintenance crews working on electrical repairs is essential. By creating an accurate as-built of the information along with a 3D representation, the airport will now save time and manpower diagnosing airfield lighting problems. In the ATL project, some of the electrical man- hole ports do not have ducts coming from them, depicted as an empty duct that can be used for other circuits. This helps electrical crews perform- ing manhole cleanup because circuits that are in a full conduit can be moved to an empty conduit. Prior to utilizing 3D mapping, this type of analysis was impossible. In the 3D map, the size of conduit is also shown. Most of the conduit on the airfield is either two-inches or four-inches. Manhole butterfly layouts were created to depict what circuits are in each manhole and duct. This was used to create the unique 3D models of the manholes. Using AutoCAD Utility Design, each duct was drawn in 3D, then each circuit was routed through the exact duct that is out in the field. This was the first step in creating a 3D map of the entire airfield lighting system. In the case of ATL, there are some manholes with as many as 16 ducts coming from the manhole, so having things in 3D helps visualize what is leaving the manhole and in the conduit. Each circuit was drawn into the ducts as depicted in the field. Three-dimensional mapping also has the unmatched ability to highlight a single circuit. With circuits going all over the airfield, being able T echnology-forward engineering firms have been using three-dimensional (3D) mapping for years to support the planning, design and data management of aviation projects, such as runway mapping. But while their peers were utilizing this technology, it wasn't until recently that the benefits of 3D mapping technology were recognized by the airfield electrical industry.

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