Panoramic Pipe Inspection For Manholes

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | February 2012, Vol. 67 No. 2

Panoramic pipe inspection technology has taken the process of inspecting sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water pipes to new dimensions, providing a 360-degree look at inside pipe surfaces and detailed information a step further past the capabilities of conventional pan-and-rotate inspection cameras and equipment.

Interactive Pipe Inspection (IPI) has been providing panoramic pipe inspection and assessment services for two years to engineers, municipalities and utility owners in the water and wastewater industries. Collected digital data is processed through various software applications and delivered in digital report format, along with a printed executive report and job summary.

The ability to provide engineers and municipalities with measurable data is a major benefit of the panoramic technology, said Bryce James, IPI manager.

“IPI’s pipe inspection system uses dual-mounted, high resolution cameras with wide angle lenses that can inspect pipelines eight-inches in diameter and larger at the rate of 14 inches per second,” James said.

Panoramic manhole inspections
Now IPI has brought the panoramic inspection process to manhole inspections, said James.

Until recently, James said, most manhole inspections have been made visually from the surface or by man entry, a time-consuming and dangerous confined-space task.

“IPI’s 360-degree manhole inspections speed the process by eliminating the need to take notes during visual inspections for use in preparing reports,” he said. “Data is collected at a rapid pace with pictures taken every two inches as the cameras move upward through the manhole. Typically a manhole inspection is completed in five to 7 minutes, making it possible for a crew to inspect many manholes in a work day.”


For manholes 16 inches and greater in diameter, IPI uses the Ibak Panaramo SI 3D Optical Manhole Scanner employing high-resolution digital cameras with specially designed, distortion-free wide angle lenses.

“The cameras optically scan the entire interior of the manhole in a few seconds in one single vertical run,” James explained. “The image data is transmitted digitally to the inspection van and is at the operators disposal as a live picture for orientation purposes and available as a panoramic ‘film’ of the whole manhole.”

On-the-spot analysis is possible, but most often assessments are made in the office by specialists.

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