Mobile Mapping in Wind Power Design Projects

Joe Beland

VP Operations, Baywa R.E. Wind

Joerg Beland is VP of Operations at BayWa r.e. Wind, part of the BayWa r.e. group, a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, operator, wholesaler and energy solutions provider, located in the San Diego area. The company offers end-to-end project solutions that encompass initial planning, project development, turnkey construction, and ongoing operations and asset management. These are challenging projects in the planning and logistics because they are often located in remote areas that may be difficult to access, and do not have reliable internet or cellular service.

As Beland knows well, wind developments are particularly challenging because there are so many factors to consider - where to place the turbines for optimal production, how are they accessed by people, equipment, infrastructure such as cables and new roads. Designing these projects requires an iterative process of modeling and site assessment in the field.

Field of wind turbines

Before discovering the Avenza Maps Pro app, the process involved paper maps, GPS devices, photos and copious notes on changes or aberrations found at the site. Then, a few years ago Beland was introduced to the app by an industry consultant. Avenza Maps Pro could help streamline the process of collecting, verifying and updating information about project sites even when connectivity is an issue.

Several people within the organization now use Avenza Maps Pro including project designers who travel to potential sites armed with a georeferenced map loaded into the app. The map shows the planned and actual locations of equipment and services, making it simple for the designer to locate. The designer can then attach photos, add more features, measure distances and areas, and make corrections on the map using the mapping tools in Avenza Maps Pro. Once returned from the site, the up-to-date map information is exported from the app and used as feedback for the company’s modeling system.

‘Going to the sites and verifying the proposed turbine locations provided by the modeling software is necessary to verify certain “field truths”’’ says Beland. ‘Without this step, we cannot accurately know the impact of the location of all other turbines. It’s invaluable for project development.’

Beland estimates that using Avenza Maps Pro in this way can save many hours of work and reduces the risk of errors and uncertainty that come from having to rely on memory and disjointed notes and photos. In addition, confidence in the modeling tools used to design projects has increased, and delays needed to check and recheck information are reduced.