Automatic Surveillance and Analysis of Snow and Ice Coverage on Electrical Insulators of Power Transmission Lines
Paper i proceeding, 2008

One of the large problems for electrical power delivery through power lines in the Northern countries is when snow or ice accumulates on electrical insulators. This could lead to snow or ice-induced outages and voltage collapse, causing huge economic loss. This paper proposes a novel real-time automatic surveillance and image analysis system for detecting and estimating the snow and ice coverage on electric insulators using images captured from an outdoor 420 kV power transmission line. In addition, the swing angle of insulators is estimated, as large swing angles due to wind cause short circuits. Hybrid techniques by combining histogram, edges, boundaries and cross-correlations are employed for handling a broad range of scenarios caused by changing weather and lighting conditions. Experiments have been conducted on the captured images over several month periods. Results have shown that the proposed system has provided valuable estimation results. For image pixels related to snows on the insulator, the current system has yielded an average detection rate of 93% for good quality images, and 67.6% for images containing large amount of poor quality ones, and the corresponding average false alarm ranges from 9% to 18.1%. Further improvement may be achieved by using video-based analysis and improved camera settings.

insulator swing angle

insulator image analysis

insulator snow detection


insulator ice detection


boundary detection

electric insulator


Irene Yu-Hua Gu

Chalmers, Signaler och system, Signalbehandling och medicinsk teknik, Signalbehandling

Unai Sistiaga

Chalmers University of Technology

Sonja M. Berlijn


Anders Fahlström


Lecture Notes in Computer Science

0302-9743 (ISSN)

Vol. 5337 368-379



Datorseende och robotik (autonoma system)

Annan elektroteknik och elektronik