While the concept behind LiDAR scanning has been in existence for more than 50 years, technological advancements are expanding the ways in which it can be used. Mobile LiDAR Scanning, or MLS – a system typically mounted on a truck, Utility Terrain Vehicle, or boat – is increasingly adding value in capturing data for infrastructure projects through enhanced safety, speed, and efficiency.
These technology developments make MLS ideal for projects that require efficient and accurate 3D topographic data capture over large areas, from city streets and railways to waterways and highways. With this expansion of applications, Foth invested in an MLS system — the RIEGL VMX-2HA — to provide clients with richer data.
Because MLS can efficiently collect data and imagery, it is especially suited for projects that span a long and linear space, such as highways, city streets, multi-level roadways, railroad corridors, tunnels, airport infrastructure, and utility transmission line corridors. MLS can also be used in building and inspecting bridges, planning for parking allocations, designing urban spaces, and examining areas of traffic congestion.
When it comes to using MLS for your next project, the benefits range from improved safety, quick and accurate data capture, flexibility, future capabilities, and more.
The MLS equipment Foth uses has two highly accurate LiDAR sensors and up to nine cameras can be configured to capture the needed data for each job. When the system is operating, the high laser pulse repetition rate of up to 2 MHz helps produce two million measurements and 500 scan lines per second. Data is collected up to 420 meters away with a 360-degree field of view. A smart geo-fence tool and restricting distance measurements enable the right area of coverage to be obtained, both to optimize collecting the data and extracting it in the office. This capability, paired together with the downward and outward facing digital camera sensors, provides detailed images of road surface and makes MLS highly suited for tasks like pavement analysis or crack indexing.
Back at the office, the data captured creates a point cloud dataset that can be processed to the level required for each project. Foth uses numerous software tools to view the raw data, load sections of the point cloud for collaborative work, and extract the necessary data for specific project deliverables. In addition, terrestrial survey files can be seamlessly merged with those from mobile scanning, providing a flexible way of enhancing accuracy when required by the project.
Because Foth’s MLS system collects billions of data points during the scanning process, it can serve as a digital databank. Proactive scanning of public city infrastructure creates a point cloud where different levels of information can be extracted as needed without doing additional surveys.
Municipalities will also find value in using MLS to help create Pavement Condition Index reports and quickly determine sidewalk ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as catalogue an inventory of assets, and develop management plans. Projects with a public engagement component also benefit, as MLS data can be used to generate visualizations and animations that help create excitement and community support.
Many more applications are possible and the list will keep expanding as the technology continues to develop. Contact us today to find out how MLS can best serve you on your next infrastructure project.