The utilization of satellite images to identify trees endangering transmission lines

Yoshihiro Kobayashi, George G. Karady, Gerald Thomas Heydt, Robert G. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This paper introduces an innovative concept for the use of multispectral stereo pair of satellite images to identify dangerous trees and plants along overhead transmission rights of way. Multispectral satellite images of the right of way are scanned automatically and the color (wavelength) of each pixel is analyzed. This scanning identifies healthy vegetation which may contain trees that endanger the line. Using multispectral stereo images, the height of each pixel is determined and the distance from the conductor is calculated. When this distance is less than the danger zone surrounding the conductors, the identified object or tree is assumed to endanger the line. Case studies using satellite images in the vicinity of Scottsdale, AZ and San Diego, CA demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed method. Details are given for prototype software development for satellite image scanning to determine tree interference with overhead transmission lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1709
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Overhead conductors
  • Power transmission
  • Satellite images
  • Transmission engineering
  • Tree trimming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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