Drawing on the advantages of GeoVisionary software and Virtual Reality (VR) technology, 30 UNITEN researchers from different fields, led by UNITEN’s Institute of Energy Infrastructure’s Director, Asoc. Prof. Dr Rohayu Che Omar, have developed a system called ViGMAS (Virtual Geo-Hazards Monitoring and Asset Management System).
ViGMAS is a research collaboration between TNB Grid Maintenance and UNITEN to enhance the asset maintenance process using VR. Seven different fields covering asset maintenance, asset development, flood, satellite technology, Virtual Reality, information system and society engagement were combined to create and integrated system.
According to Dr Rohayu, “ViGMAS utilises GeoVisionary software and VR to help to plan landscape and vegetation control to minimise encroachment to TNB’s transmission towers. GeoVisionary’s sophistication allows UNITEN to record information such as the height of vegetation, enabling TNB Grid Maintenance to analyse this data as part of its land and vegetation management.”
Multiple sets of data from different sources can be assimilated and combined together in GeoVisionary to create a 3D model of a landscape in which “what if” scenarios can be played out. ViGMAS allows stakeholders to try out situations and responses, especially in asset maintenance and geo-hazards management that cannot be rehearsed in the real world. Thus, the development of ViGMAS is considered to be one of the first examples of the replication of near real-time conditions in real world sites virtually.
TNB Grid Maintenance stakeholders will be able to use these VR models to foster intuitive decisions within asset management by deploying Virtual Reality (VR) technology. “These techniques are especially valuable in limited access areas, such as jungles”, explained Dr Rohayu. “Extra details were added to the virtual GeoVisionary models using laser scanning techniques prior to model simulation analyses. UNITEN and TNB Grid Maintenance then will be able to monitor the site conditions virtually, over time.”
“By so doing, we are able to detect changes on the site and predict future changes – both things that would have been virtually impossible without VR technology. Armed with this knowledge, the frequency of site visits is effectively optimised.”
VIGMAS also acts a long-term repository of asset management processes. Dr Rohayu commented: “Although ViGMAS is still a research programme, TNB Grid Maintenance has worked with us to provide insight on the VR model we showed them on our Virtalis ActiveMove display system. They have found that ViGMAS allows them to understand better and expedite the decision-making process. Currently, based on our extensive research analyses, ViGMAS is able to forecast any flood event five days ahead and predict landslide events five or six hours ahead. This extra time will be incredibly valuable for TNB Grid Maintenance in terms of their future planning for emergency response in assuring public safety.”
Notes for Editors
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is the largest electrical company in Malaysia and formed Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) just over two decades ago.
GeoVisionary is a specialist VR platform that is able to assimilate data from different sources and combine them together to create a 3D model of a landscape.
ActiveMove is Virtalis’ transportable VR display system. It enables fully tracked immersion in a VR model thanks to 3D rear projection onto a large screen. Both TNB and UNITEN have identical ActiveMoves with GeoVisionary installed. This means they can collaborate on both analysis and response virtually and in real-time. Both the GeoVisionary software and the ActiveMove can be used on a range of projects and the teams are working together on projects like planning new transmission and pipeline networks, looking at the effects of residential and highway development and planning locations for new power plants.
Watch UNITEN’s video describing the ground-breaking work they are doing with GeoVisionary and VR – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItkXgwPeCBk