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The Katapult Method: Part 2

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

The Katapult Method is optimized for a collection team of two. We equip our team with the following items:

  • DSLR Camera

  • Ruggedized Camera

  • Smartphone

  • 17' Height Stick

Once our crew arrives at the site, we pull up the job on the smartphone. After taking a "sync shot" on both cameras, we begin taking pictures of our line.

The first picture will be a midspan height shot before the first pole. The shot is taken perpendicular to the cables and must be framed so that the full stick and all wires are in view.

In environments where there isn't enough space to view the full stick and all cables in one photo, we take a split midspan shot. We use a measured height in the first photo to more accurately calibrate the second photo.

After the midspan photo has been taken, the SLR operator will click the "Done (Midpoint)" button on the smartphone at the location of the midspan in the design. This process creates a time bucket that will hold all the photos taken during that timeframe. When processing the job in the office, timestamps on the photos will automatically associate all photos to their according time buckets on the correct nodes and sections.

As the crew approaches their first pole, the SLR operator will take a "hallway shot," which includes the pole, the span, and the next pole in the line. A similar shot will be taken on the other side of the pole facing the other way.

As the second crew member places the stick at the pole, the SLR operator will get a "height shot" at a 45-degree angle to the pole. It is important for the small camera operator to keep the stick straight against the pole with all height targets facing the SLR operator.

At the pole, the small camera operator takes all necessary photos at the pole. This will include pole tags, birthmarks, inspection tags, and "up shots" (pictures against the pole that help recognize angles of power hardware, streetlights, and more). The final picture the small camera will take is called the "back shot." This is taken opposite of the height shot to give a better perspective of the power and communications space.

After taking the height shot, the SLR operator will take a zoomed in "side shot" of the power and communications space on the pole.

As the team moves to the next midspan, the SLR operator will take their opposite "hallway shot," and mark the pole "done" on the smartphone. If the crew returns to take additional photos of the pole, the SLR operator can press the "took more photos" button to create another time bucket for the node in question.

The process is then repeated until the job is complete. A field team's progress can be tracked at any time within the job, as time buckets and midspan sections update in real-time. Design can be completed quickly in the field, and SLR operator can add spans and anchors easily from the smartphone.

Though scopes of work differ, a two-person crew should be able to collect 100-200 poles in a given day.

If you want to read more about field collection, you can read our Field Manual. If you'd like a set of gear, or want training on how to collect pole data using the Katapult method, send us an email at! Next week, we'll take a look at photo uploads and association in The Katapult Method: Part 3.

Thanks for reading! If you have further questions, contact us at 717.430.0910 or

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