Subsurface Utilities Meet Mobile Lidar
LiDAR Magazine Vol. 8 No. 5 - Copyright 2018 Spatial Media • www.lidarmag.com - Article by Brent Gelhar
Abstract - SUBSURFACE UTILITIES MEET MOBILE LIDAR
There has been a dramatic growth in the past decade in subsurface utility mapping, but the need for improved utility location continues to be an issue. “Plans alone are not sufficient to identify and locate services before starting work. They provide basic information on which to base a thorough site survey before work begins” as stated by UK Health and Safety.
There is also a huge liability of having survey crews venturing onto active roadways to identify and mark utility locations, so keeping staff safe while not impeding traffic flow is becoming more and more of an issue to companies and municipalities.
Taking A New Approach
The DGT Associates Subsurface Utility Mapping group, Boston, MA, USA, led by Michael Twohig, requested a proof-of-concept project for simultaneous roadway speed data collection of mobile lidar, imagery and ground penetrating radar (GPR) with multiple antennas and different frequencies.
DGT has been looking for technology partners that have the existing, reliable technologies that could build a mobile mapping system to reduce the time geospatial staff (surveyors and utility locating technicians) are working in active roadways and travel lanes.
Through a collaboration by SITECO Informatica, Bologna, Italy (SITECO), Sensors & Software Inc, Mississauga, ON, Canada (SSI), and DGT Associates, Boston MA, the project was realized to collect simultaneous lidar data above ground and GPR data below the surface. SITECO manufactures the Road-Scanner family of high-performance mobile mapping products while SSI is a leader in ground penetrating radar sensors. Additionally, SSI’s sister company, RoadMap Inc. also of Mississauga, Canada, has an existing fully integrated trailer system for roadway speed data collection.
This project was a complete success, simulating all of the capabilities as first stipulated. We feel this can be a groundbreaking milestone in improving safety and data collection efficiency in the subsurface utility engineering and mapping (SUE/SUM) business community. The project clearly demonstrated the comparison of data collected by traditional utility surveying methods and the ability to capture high-quality, reliable data from active roadways, at posted speed limits.
SITECO’s software has demonstrated well-established workflows that can be scaled up for very large projects.
Initial results were co-presented by Gelhar and Twohig at the SPAR 2018 conference on June 6th 2018 in Anaheim, CA, USA.
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