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Using LiDAR in transportation planning and engineering

Terrestrial LiDAR is important for transport engineers as it brings data from the road to your desk. It allows users to interact and analyze the LiDAR-derived data in spectacular detail. One of the most useful benefits of LiDAR in transportation engineer is the ability it has to take measurements from the point cloud (which can have relative accuracies of around 2cm). This makes it possible to get an exact measurement of features such as bridge heights, pole lengths, carriageway widths, lane markings, and all other features without having to go on site.

LiDAR for volumes and areas calculations

LiDAR has the advantage that it can scan all the variations in the surface, which makes it perfect for volume and area calculations and measurements. This can be applied to calculate the volume of material that will be excavated during building operations or road maintenance which helps when estimating construction costs. In the case of carriageways, useful elements can be revealed such as superelevation and camber. With LiDAR entire areas can be mapped out!

Feature extraction from LiDAR data

LiDAR sensors can collect other useful information used for analysis, such as intensity. This refers to the intensity or strength of the laser beam return. There are many factors that influence this return strength but one of the most influential factors is the surface material and how it reflects or absorbs light. Reflective materials like road signs or paint road markings reflect at a higher intensity. Thanks to LiDAR it is possible to find these features and extract them from the point cloud. This in turn can be a cost-effective way of evaluating a section of the road prior to starting construction projects.

LiDAR for data validation

LiDAR data can also be used to validate data that has been previously captured by other means like aerial photography for example. Due to the precision with which LiDAR data is captured, it can be used to validate the position of these assets in the database and add additional attributes that may not have been previously captured.

Terrestrial LiDAR has significant benefits for engineers as there is no need to go on-site, it helps keep your staff safe, among other things. LiDAR’s advantages and uses are endless for professionals working in transport engineering, planning, and analysis. By supplying accurate data visualizations, LiDAR brings the road environment to life.

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