Using Google Earth and Google Street View for Slope Cut Inventory and Rockfall Hazard Rating

An inventory of rock slope cuts and corresponding rockfall hazards are one of the main components of geotechnical asset management along US roadways. Collecting field data for rockfall hazard rating is both time consuming and expensive. On the other hand, remote sensing methods such as using Google Earth in conjunction with Google Street View show promise to be much faster, safer and more cost effective. The objective of this research is to evaluate the use of Google Earth/Google Street View to prepare a rock slope cut inventory along Virginia's roadways and identify associated rockfall hazards. Once the method is validated through field checks on at least ten slope cuts representative of geologic conditions in Virginia, the next step will be training VDOT personnel to complete the geodatabase for the slope cut inventory and rockfall hazard rating using Google Earth/Google Street View. A rockfall hazard rating database obtained in such a manner may not be considered comprehensive but it can be used to select sites for further field based detailed rockfall hazard evaluation.