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Laying pipelines using PIX4Dcatch

Mobile 3D scanning device PIX4Dcatch saves time and boosts productivity for HSC Pipeline Engineering in Singapore.

Terrestrial data collection with photogrammetry is a growing area of interest for many industries, whether it is to do with landscaping and real estate, or more focused on geospatial and construction surveying purposes. PIX4Dcatch is a mobile scanning solution that uses a combination of photogrammetry, LiDAR, and RTK, to collect data points to provide datasets with high quality 3D models that are accurately geolocated.

This solution balances the need for GPS accuracy with high maneuverability and HSC Pipeline Engineering is leveraging these capabilities for its civil engineering projects in Singapore.

Pipeline engineering expertise

HSC is in the business of infrastructural pipeline construction and related engineering services for gas, water, telecommunications, and energy. With 25 years of experience in Singapore, they are seasoned professionals in understanding the best workflows and critical requirements for working in surveying for the highly urbanized island nation. They lay pipes of varying sizes underneath the earth with as little disruption as possible to daily life. With the help of official Pix4D reseller Easepect, HSC has started to deploy the use of PIX4Dcatch and PIX4Dcloud at their sites across the country.

Training room with orange boxes for viDoc cases
Easepect and HSC worked together to apply the best workflows for PIX4Dcatch to boost productivity

Project Details

UserHSC Pipeline Engineering Pte Ltd
HardwareRTK device
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Work scaleAll of Singapore (728.6 km2)
Processing time<1 to 6 hours depending on the project

How does this workflow make a difference?

HSC has worked on multiple projects valued at millions of dollars and spanning anywhere from two to ten years. A major player in Singapore, they are using this workflow for documenting subsurface utilities and laying pipes with high accuracy. Their key aims are:

  • To digitally reproduce excavated trenches and present them to stakeholders who wish to do inspections, reviews, and further analysis.
  • To complete surveys more quickly by taking advantage of RTK accuracy and the digital twins generated on PIX4Dcloud with coordinates and measurements.

Subsurface utility engineering and trench excavations in Singapore

Excavating trenches and laying pipelines in Singapore requires a multitude of permits and necessitates road closures. This requires extensive coordination between resources, equipment, and labor to prepare a site, dig the trench, lay pipes, and re-fill the excavation as quickly as possible. Documenting this is a long term challenge for HSC due to time pressure. PIX4Dcatch with an RTK rover attached is an exciting solution. It is a powerful and lightweight workflow that any layperson can pick up and operate effectively and as such is a game changer for the construction industry.

Site scanning with PIX4Dcatch takes less than a minute for trial holes

Further success by HSC Pipeline Engineering

HSC has seen substantial benefits to working with this RTK accurate workflow for various operations such as subsurface utility engineering, including trench excavations. HSC has found they can speed up underground surveying operations by as much as 30 to 50%, according to the project. This boosts the productivity for pipe laying overall by 5%, making a difference for HSC’s operational capabilities.

10% of the company’s excavations are done for surveying, known in the industry as trial holes. This type of excavation requires about 5 to 10 people to dig, measure, and backfill. These trial holes must be dug every 30 meters while laying underground utilities. HSC's pipe layers lay upwards of 3,000 meters of pipe per month, so the operational commitment of trial holes alone can reach 67,200 hours of work per year and cost $1,800,000.

The 3D models created from capturing with PIX4Dcatch and uploading to PIX4Dcloud have a high degree of accuracy and are digital twins of reality. They can be used for maintaining records of work done by HSC as well as for measuring and analyzing the excavation. The resources can also easily be shared via PIX4Dcloud, so stakeholders across Singapore can have access to the data. This helps cut down on unnecessary site visits because the realistic digital twin is easy to navigate and observe, which enhances the value of the workflow.

The 3D models are hosted and shared on PIX4Dcloud to facilitate easy communication
“We have imagery, digital twins, and most importantly, actionable data available in record time for our internal and external stakeholders to use through the Pix4D solution” - - Foo Zhi Rui, Operations Development Executive, HSC.
Textured mesh in PIX4Dcloud from scans with viDoc RTK and PIX4Dcatch
The trial holes can be measured on PIX4Dcloud as an accurate construction record

Trustworthy terrestrial surveying

HSC is not a surveying company but is an expert in construction and infrastructure. Nevertheless, the company needs surveying data. They have highlighted the ease of use of PIX4Dcatch and how it makes this process easier.

"The combination of PIX4Dcatch with RTK and PIX4Dcloud has enabled us to create high quality 3D scans that are geospatially accurate and easy to share with stakeholders. Not only is the workflow intuitive and seamless, but it is also at a fraction of the cost of other multi-part solutions available on the market." - Managing Director, Mr. Shane Shi

Surveyors can confidently take measurements of pipes and their locations with minimal error. This fulfills the ambition of HSC to have accurate digital twins that are shareable (easily done via PIX4Dcloud) that they can use as a source of truth for infrastructure records. Engineers can update annotations in reference to work that is completed instead of relying on second-hand reports. It also means that regulators can conduct full inspections off-site and save an inordinate amount of time aligning their schedules with that of HSC.

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HSC and Easepect have seen rapid success in working with PIX4Dcatch

Overall, this solution has proven to be a great success for HSC with measurable deliverables. As they continue to work with Easepect to keep improving accuracy and discovering new techniques to work with PIX4Dcatch, they can be confident in the results and deliverables that they provide to their clients.

The future of accurate terrestrial surveying
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