Learn Mobile Lidar – Mobile LIDAR Guidelines (NCHRP 15-44) E-learning Website

In early 2013 the Mobile LIDAR Guidelines were released by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to aid with the cost-effective adoption of mobile LIDAR for transportation agencies. These guidelines build on an analysis of current and emerging applications including project planning, project development, survey, construction, operations, maintenance, safety, research, and asset management through a literature review, DOT questionnaire, and service provider questionnaire; they address key phases of mobile LIDAR workflows including data acquisition, processing, formatting and management, storage requirements, quality assurance, and deliverables; and are based on performance criteria such as data precision, local accuracy, network accuracy, and point density requirements supporting the identified applications.

In order to facilitate its use amongst a variety of people, several outreach activities have been completed over the last year including presentation of 3 webinars, development of an e-learning website, and creation of 5 interactive e-learning modules. The idea behind this effort is to provide various methods for transportation professionals of diverse backgrounds to understand mobile LIDAR technology and explain how they can use it effectively in a wide assortment of applications.

The website Learn Mobile LiDAR hosts a variety of content to assist with learning about this exciting technology. Features include:

1. A hyperlinked, html version of the Guidelines document where one can quickly examine and print off sections of interest.

2. A detailed glossary of terminology related to LIDAR.

3. Forms, including a template for a statement of work, sample calibration report, and deliverables checklist.

4. A list highlighting key reference material for one to quickly come up to speed with Mobile LIDAR.

5. A list of relevant national specifications and guidelines.

6. An interactive map enabling one to quickly find state DOT specifications related to LIDAR, GPS, photogrammetry, and surveying.

7. A detailed database of articles and reports on Mobile LIDAR and point cloud processing.

8. Five interactive e-learning modules which present important concepts from the guidelines in creative ways that are conducive to multiple learning styles:

I. Overview – Provides an overview of the Guidelines document and Mobile LIDAR technology, including various applications of Mobile LIDAR technology. It also discusses plans for implementing Mobile LIDAR across a transportation agency.

II. Understanding Mobile LIDAR Technology explains how the technology works, the advantages and disadvantages, presents the general workflow of Mobile LIDAR acquisition and processing, and identifies key implications in decision making for using Mobile LIDAR technology.

III. Mobile LIDAR Procurement Presents the issues involved in determining whether Mobile LIDAR is appropriate for a project, locates materials in the Guidelines document that support their decision-making process, illustrates the cost considerations for using Mobile LIDAR technology, explains the general decisions involved in each of the categories that make up a Scope of Work document, and identifies potential Mobile LIDAR deliverables and when each is most appropriate

IV. Data Management – Explains the importance of good data management practices, describes the advantages of centralized data management, organizational data mining and the importance of planning ahead to accommodate data mining, explains the general issues of data storage, and identifies best practices for addressing the challenges of managing complex data sets and the information generated.

V. Quality Management – Explains fundamentals of data accuracy, precision, and resolution, explains the complexities and capabilities of Mobile LIDAR technology, describes appropriate quality control procedures, and identifies ways to ensure that deliverables meet application requirements.

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

10. Sample point cloud datasets with an interactive viewer.

11. The webinar series presented through TRB. The first webinar is an overview of the Guidelines and key recommendations. The second webinar delves into management topics including procurement, cost, and decision making. The third webinar covers important technical considerations including the Mobile LIDAR workflow, error budgets, and quality control.

We invite you to visit the website and hope you find it to be of value to you and your associates. If you have something you would like to contribute to the website, please let us know. We will be making periodic updates. Additional features being developed for the website include a wiki page to expand the literature review as well as a user-forum.

Note This project included expertise from several people that are listed here.

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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