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Vegetation Management Now Featured in Lineman 360 VR Program

  • Posted: 11.15.2019
Eric, a Journeyman Lineman for NIPCO, explains that the tree behind him has grown too close to power lines and must be removed.

NIPCO’s award-winning virtual reality (VR) program, Lineman 360, added a new video to its program. Lineman 360 was developed in 2018 to educate and entertain member-consumers about the work done by their cooperative line workers by inviting them to work alongside crew members, thanks to an environment that simulates the line worker experience without ever having to leave the ground.

Lineman 360 – Pole Climb®, released in the spring of 2018, featured “Scott the Lineman” who invites users to climb to the top of a distribution pole to change out an electric transformer. One year later, Lineman 360 viewers get a chance to trim back an overgrown tree impeding upon a transmission line.

Virtual Reality (VR) technology allows users to work alongside crew members, thanks to an environment that simulates the line worker experience without ever having to leave the ground.

In Lineman 360 – Vegetation Management, Eric, a Journeyman Lineman with NIPCO, explains the importance of a proactive vegetation management plan and the role it plays in maintaining the safe, reliable, and cost-effective delivery of power and then invites viewers to tag along as he travels into the treetop. Thanks to VR technology, viewers who experience Vegetation Management can almost feel the chill of a late winter morning as they move through the branches with Eric.

This past spring, NIPCO received national recognition in the 2019 Spotlight on Excellence Awards program, sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). NIPCO received a Silver Award in the Best Digital Storytelling category for Lineman 360 - Pole Climb.

Lineman 360 – Vegetation Management is currently being showcased at NIPCO member system events and meetings, including district and annual meetings, school safety presentations, career fairs, and STEM programs.


Photo of line crew and a bucket truck working at the base of an old, oak tree.

Why is Vegetation Management generally performed during the winter months?

During the winter months, the ground is frozen and hard enough to support heavy equipment. Overgrown vegetation which encroaches power lines is also large enough that work to be done is easier when trees and shrubs are dormant and there are less leaves to impede efforts.

© 2018 Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative