Implementation of Aerial LiDAR Technology to Update Highway Feature Inventory

The Utah Department of Transportation's (UDOT’s) Maintenance Feature Inventory, housed inside the Operations Management System (OMS), was largely populated in 2012 as a result of a Mobile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data collection effort conducted by Mandli Communications. The Feature Inventory, however, is not static, so it is imperative to identify cost-effective means to keep the data current. Mandli will be conducting a new Mobile LiDAR data collection in 2014 in an effort to identify differences in the asset inventory from the 2012 data set. However, a more cost-effective means of identifying differences may be by employing Aerial LiDAR in areas where large-scale changes may have occurred, such as where new construction activities may have occurred subsequent to the original data collection. Aerial LiDAR technology offers the advantages of a) less time spent in data collection (days rather than months), and b) a view of the roadway from a different perspective, allowing features to be viewed and identified that may have been hidden from the Mobile platform. A possible disadvantage may be lower resolution of the point cloud (fewer data points per square meter). This project is to test whether Aerial LiDAR data can be a) obtained accurately and quickly enough to be cost-effective as compared to a second Mobile run, b) successfully merged with the Mobile LiDAR point cloud such that differences in the asset inventory can be easily identified, and c) used as a tool to identify features that were not visible from the Mobile platform. National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 748, Guidelines for the Use of Mobile LiDAR in Transportation Applications will be used as a guide for the proposed research. UDOT is also currently undertaking an effort to investigate the best means of combining LiDAR data sets from multiple collection efforts, including work with Virtual Geomatics, and with the Utah Automated Geographical Referencing Center (AGRC). AGRC is undertaking an effort to have the entire state surveyed by Aerial LiDAR. An important element of working with the AGRC data will be to develop a means to “clip” the data such that only the portion of the point cloud within a reasonable distance of the roadway centerline is used for analysis. This research project therefore, will be conducted in full coordination with the Mandli, Virtual Geomatics, and AGRC efforts in order to insure that all efforts are in alignment. The objectives of this research project are as follows: (1) To learn of the state of the art and practice in LiDAR technology and implementation for DOT implementation. (2) Evaluate the efficiency and precision of the Aerial versus Mobile LiDAR to capture changes in the highway asset inventory as well as compare and contrast the accuracy of the different technologies compared to the ground survey data. (3) Define a process for the collection and data processing and entering into the UDOT feature inventory. (4) Development of techniques for the matching of mobile and Aerial LiDAR data collection. (5) Assess the cost-effectiveness of Aerial LiDAR technology in providing updates to the feature inventory system over ground field inventory programs. (6) Integration of the results of the research into Mandli, AGRC, and UDOT asset management processes. Tasks include: (1) Conduct a comprehensive literature review of LiDAR implementations by Departments of Transportation. (2) Acquire Aerial LiDAR survey data over designated areas as follows: (a) Interstate 84 from Mountain Green to Morgan County/Summit County (LiDAR & Imagery); (b) Interstate 15 – Payson to Springville (LiDAR & Imagery); (c) Interstate 15 – Region 2 (LiDAR & Imagery); (d) US-191 – MP 84 to 112 (Imagery Only). Data collection will be conducted with both manned aircraft with a multi-band spectral camera (6 Band Thermal and 3 channel RGB color) and ALS (Airborne Laser Scanning) LiDAR with associated imagery. The system consists of a high speed LiDAR and optional combinations of HD video, color, and multispectral cameras. It is a turnkey system complete with system and mission control electronics and is deployable on a fixed-wing or helicopter platform. It can work at ranges between 50 m and 1200 m, collects 3D data of up to 1500 points per square meter with a 10 sigma relative accuracy of about 2 cm. Absolute repeatable accuracy is between 6 and 10 cm depending on flying height. The LASSI system can include an HD video camera or a 22 megapixel color camera along with three 4 megapixel multispectral cameras. Typical point densities vary between 30 pts/m² at 300 m to 2 pts/m² at 1200 m. (3) Post-processing of data. Point cloud and geo-TIF imagery delivery to USU and UDOT. (Tasks 4 through 7 will only be completed and paid for based on the legitimacy and viability of this data as approved by the DEPARTMENT.) (4)Conduct of analysis to determine the cost per mile of the technologies for future application. (5) Image and point cloud analysis to determine the number of assets that are acquired by the Aerial LiDAR. (6) Use of ArcAnalyst to compare data from Aerial LiDAR, Mandli, and AGRC data. Discussion of the differences in horizontal and vertical positioning and capability for asset management usage (OMS) and survey grade data. (7) Compilation of report showing the efficiency, accuracy of Aerial/Mobile LiDAR/AGRC Methods to capture changes over the highway inventory system. Submit a one-page article for a UDOT research newsletter including pictures and major findings. Also include a power point presentation, brochure and video presentation as part of the final deliverable. Present major findings in the UDOT Annual Conference.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $266665
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380

    Utah State University Transportation Center

    Utah State University
    Logan, UT  United States  84322-4110

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Hales, Thomas

    Heaslip, Kevin

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Utah State University, Logan

    Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
    Logan, UT  United States  84332

    Mountain Plains Consortium

    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    122 S. Central Campus Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561
  • Principal Investigators:

    Song, Ziqi

  • Start Date: 20141103
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01574305
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Utah Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 158544, DTRT13-G-UTC38, MPC-462
  • Created Date: Aug 27 2015 12:08PM