Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Deployment for Airport Obstructions Surveys

Obstructions surveys--the identification and mapping of objects on the ground that might interfere with aircraft operations--are required at all airports. These surveys are used by the airport to analyze when action is needed to avoid or remediate impingements on airspace (e.g., reduce the height of trees near runways); by airlines to analyze flight paths for their aircraft; and by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to analyze and design new instrument approaches, including global positioning system (GPS) approaches. Airports also use these surveys to update airport layout plan (ALP) drawings that may become the basis for restricting the heights of structures that could impinge on airspace and to note locations of temporary potential obstructions (e.g., construction cranes). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Geodetic Survey (NGS), operating under a series of interagency agreements with the FAA, is responsible for certifying that information developed from obstructions surveys meet the requirements for operation of the National Airspace System. Obstructions data collected and information derived from those data for ALP development may go beyond NGS-administered requirements. Most obstructions-survey data are obtained using field-survey and photogrammetric methods. A traditional NOAA-certified obstruction survey takes approximately 6 months, and a backlog of demand for such surveys far exceeds the funding available under federal programs, so that some airports must operate with obsolete and possibly inaccurate obstructions information. In addition, introduction of new GPS approaches at airports has increased demand for obstructions-survey data and lack of resources for obstructions surveys impedes FAA's ability to support this new technology. Seeking to reduce costs and enhance accuracy of obstructions surveys, the FAA and NOAA have been conducting research on the use of airborne LIDAR technology. This research has proven that airborne LIDAR data can be used effectively in analysis and mapping of obstructions, including treetops and poles, accurately. Now that use of airborne LIDAR data has been proven technically effective for obstruction analysis, further research is needed to establish a cost-effective methodology that airports and their consultants can adopt to procure, process, and use these new data. The objectives of this research are (a) to describe requirements that must be met to use LIDAR data in aeronautical obstructions surveys and airport layout plan (ALP) elevation surveys; (b) to recommend procurement specifications and procedures that could be used by airports or other agencies for procuring and using LIDAR data; and (c) to describe the technical bases that could justify acceptance of LIDAR-based obstructions surveys by the NGS, FAA, airports, and airlines.</p>


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $350000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 3-01

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Mississippi, University

    Department of Civil Engineering
    University, MS  United States  38677
  • Principal Investigators:

    Uddin, Waheed

  • Start Date: 20070130
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20091231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 16007

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462698
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 3-01
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:08PM