Oregon DOT Demonstrates Mobile Laser Scanner to OSU Students

Ron Singh, Dan Wright, and Mike Brinton from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Geometronics division provided a demonstration last week of their recently acquired mobile laser scan system to students at Oregon State University (OSU) for the new 3D laser scanning and imaging class offered through the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. ODOT purchased the mobile scanner primarily for asset management purposes, although it will be used for a large variety of other projects.

The students learned about the various components of a mobile scan system and how data are acquired and processed. Students were able to see a sample dataset acquired recently with the scanner.

Applications of mobile scanning such as topographic mapping, asset management, and feature extraction were discussed. The students also learned about current struggles including data interoperability, the need to transfer data between multiple software packages, and the fact that the technology is continually under development.

A few students from OSU are working with ODOT personnel to perform research and evaluation related to mobile scanning. This teamwork approach provides an excellent opportunity for the students to interact with professionals and gain valuable field experience. The students, in turn, assist ODOT with ideas, testing, data collection, analysis, and a report write-up. ODOT is investigating how they can validate the mobile scan data and perhaps obtain better accuracies than the manufacturer specifies.

Ron Singh also discussed the importance of geomatics in ODOTs overall operations and how 3D scanning technology is important to guide the overall transition to complete 3D design workflows.
Finally, Ron commented on the benefits and challenges of investments in new technologies and how it is vital to keep an organization progressing forward. While it is a bold step on the part of the organization, it also enables them to provide feedback to the manufacturers early so that the system will better meet their overall needs.

This was a valuable opportunity for the students and we appreciate the support of ODOT. Their support has been important to OSUs growing geomatics program

About the Author

Michael Olsen

Michael Olsen ... Michael is an Assistant Professor of Geomatics in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. He chairs the ASCE Geomatics Spatial Data Applications Committee and is on the editorial board for the ASCE Journal of Surveying Engineering. He has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He has also worked as an Engineer in Training for West Valley City. His current areas of research include terrestrial laser scanning, remote sensing, GIS, geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, hazard mitigation, and 3D visualization. He teaches geomatics and geotechnical engineering courses at OSU where he has developed new, ground-breaking courses in Digital Terrain Modeling course and Building Information Modeling. Recent projects he has been involved with include: earthquake reconnaissance (following the American Samoa and Chile earthquakes and tsunamis), landslide analysis for the US 20 realignment, seacliff erosion mapping using LIDAR for San Diego County and Oregon, liquefaction hazard mapping for Utah, and modeling and studying historical buildings such as the Palazzo Medici and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy.
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