This page provides answers to several questions we frequently get asked:
- Will you be releasing an iphone version?
- What about making a version that runs on a PC?
- What does LineSmarts work best on, a tablet or a phone?
- What sort of tablet or phone device is best?
- What can you do to improve measurement accuracy?
- How accurate are the measurements?
- How precise are the measurements?
- How fast are LineSmarts measurements?
- Who would use LineSmarts?
Will you be releasing an iphone version?
This is the most frequently asked question we get.
Eventually we will create an ios and a desktop pc version, but not for a while. To create and maintain an ios version will take a lot of work. At the moment we are prioritising our efforts towards continuing to refine LineSmarts and introduce new features. The new features we have planned are novel and don’t currently exist. They will give users capabilities and conveniences they haven’t had before, whereas developing an ios version only makes the app more accessible to iPhone and iPad users.
That is not to diminish the need for an ios version. We regret the inconvenience for ios users. A tool like LineSmarts becomes much more valuable if it is on the device you always carry, so we are very conscious of the need to create an ios version. Just not immediately.
We believe that those who want to use the tools we are creating get greater benefit at this stage if we concentrate our time on making a better tool, rather than supporting multiple versions. For those who have IOS devices we would point out that the cost of getting an android device is not high relative to the value and savings that can be derived from using LineSmarts.
What about making a version that runs on a PC?
At some stage we will develop a version of LineSmarts that will work on a windows PC. This will enable LineSmarts measurements which are collected in the field to be communicated back to the office for further analysis or permanent record. However as discussed for the previous question, our immediate priority is developing the android version of LineSmarts.
What does LineSmarts work best on, a tablet or a phone?
LineSmarts has been developed to work on both but it is easier to use LineSmarts on a tablet because of the larger screen with which to see and input data. On the other hand the phone has the advantage of always being on hand. Also phone cameras tend as a rule to be of better quality than tablet cameras.
What sort of tablet or phone device is best?
Most Android devices should work with LineSmarts. We have never had any reports to the contrary. There are a great number of Android devices and LineSmarts has only been tested on some of them. If incompatibility issues arise please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally there are a couple of requirements a user should check for before deciding on a device. The device needs to have a rear facing camera and accelerometers. The Android version must be 4.1 or later. To work well the user should also consider the following:
- Camera - the camera is probably the most important instrument for LineSmarts. The number of megapixels is not necessarily a good indicator of quality. If possible users should trial cameras by photographing aerial wires to see how well they are captured. The camera should not have optical zoom.
- Screen - consider visibility in daylight.
- Durability and weather-tightness.
- A gyroscope, also referred to as a 6 axis accelerometer can be used to improve measurement accuracy.
- Quality – the general quality of the device will affect the accuracy of the measurements and the user experience. Good quality accelerometers are important but detailed specifications for accelerometers are not generally available so you can only hope you get what you pay for.
- Processor speed - If the device is too slow that can start to affect the measurement accuracy and become a source of frustration for the user.
- Compass – While not strictly required for core LineSmarts features the compass can be used to improve measurement accuracy. The compass is used in LineSmarts to automate the orientation of maps and the measurement of line heading.
- GPS – While not strictly required for core LineSmarts features GPS capability is used in LineSmarts to automate location measurement and the identification of local ambient temperature.
- Internet connectivity – While not strictly required for core LineSmarts features internet connectivity is used in LineSmarts to download maps, communicate LineSmarts exports via email and automate the identification of local ambient temperature.
- Storage - Built in storage or expandable storage will be required to store the photos generated by LineSmarts.
What can you do to improve measurement accuracy?
- Ensure that your device is correctly calibrated. If required calibrate your device using the LineSmarts calibration tools which can be found under settings on the device. Read more here.
- Select the pole at, or close, to the crossarm height. This is especially important for leaning poles. LineSmarts does not currently accommodate for pole lean in its span and tension calculations. Leaning poles pose a problem for measurement accuracy because currently LineSmarts calculations are performed under the assumption that poles are vertical. Pole lean can introduce error into span length and tension calculations, especially when measurements are taken from acute angles. To minimise error associated with pole lean at acute angles measure the direct range to pole (not the horizontal range, the tick box will need to be unticked) at the crossarm level and identify the pole location in the image at crossarm level as well.
- Take the image as close as possible to at right angles to the span.
- Take the photo as close to the span as possible, but leaving a bit of room to the edge of the image. Imaging chips used to record images tend to have more imperfections near the edges.
- Use quality equipment. Laser range finders should be sub-meter accurate, the more accurate the better. A good quality smartphone or tablet device can help accuracy in many ways.
- Take care to enter data accurately. Zoom in to identify positions accurately.
- Enter all the data. The attachment offset and pole radius don’t need to be entered but for best accuracy these details will make a difference.
- Hold the device steady while taking the image. Sometimes it can be difficult to hold the device steady because of gusting wind, awkward footing or positioning or holding other equipment. A steady device will provide more accurate results.
- Avoid surveying in conditions which are likely to make it difficult to see the conductor on the image.
- Select the conductor at points spaced as far apart as possible. LineSmarts currently uses a parabolic model for calculating conductor tensions and positions. The errors associated with using this model are generally very small but may become more significant for very low tension spans. Selecting wire positions at the middle and the extreme ends helps minimise those associated errors.
How accurate are the measurements?
Our testing has shown that measurements can be very accurate if the device is correctly calibrated. Select this link to view a report describing some of the testing we have performed with LineSmarts.
How precise are the measurements?
LineSmarts is a relatively precise method of measuring tension. The precision of the measurements depend on a great many variables including the issues discussed previously and the span length and tension. Short spans with very little sag are likely to be difficult to measure precisely. As a consequence it is impractical to answer this question generally. What we are able to say is that generally testing has shown that for around town spans, span lengths and tensions are respectively measured to a precision of plus or minus <0.5% and <3% at one standard deviation.
How fast are LineSmarts measurements?
This video demonstrates how LineSmarts could be used to calculate conductor tension in less than a minute. This video was created using LineSmarts version 8. Improvements that have been made since, such as the automated conductor detection, make measurement even faster:
Who would use LineSmarts?
Our goal is to provide practical solutions for anyone who works with overhead lines. Here are some examples of how LineSmarts might be used:
- Quantity surveyors can use LineSmarts to confirm component sizes on existing assets
- Designers can use LineSmarts to establish existing conductor tensions before refurbishing, modifying or upgrading a line.
- Linesmen are able to use LineSmarts to make sure that conductors have been installed at the correct tension before leaving the job.
- Condition assessors can use LineSmarts to ensure that wires will maintain their required ground clearances while at maximum operating temperature.
- Project managers can use LineSmarts to confirm line tensions before submitting as-built records.
- Faults crews may use LineSmarts to understand the loads on a structure that has been displaced before attempting to repair it.
- Maintenance crews could use LineSmarts to identify significant wire tension imbalances or high loads as part of a site safety meeting.
- Asset managers can use LineSmarts to record road clearances for evidence at high risk crossings.
- Tree maintenance crews can use LineSmarts to establish the extent to which wires can blow out.
- Conductor manufacturers could use LineSmarts to monitor the creep and stretch of their conductors while in service
- Engineers can use LineSmarts to assess the susceptibility of conductors to vibration damage.
We would love to hear about other uses people have found for LineSmarts. Please let us know at email@example.com.