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Roadway Characteristics Inventory for DOTs Using Mobile LiDAR Technology

July 22, 2013

DOTs across the Country are mandated by the Federal Government to keep track of their roadway assets and to report against these assets to receive Federal funding for their maintenance and repair. Many DOTs conduct Roadway Characteristics Inventories (RCI) on an annual basis to update and maintain their data relative to these assets. Traditionally, this has been completed using a boots-on-the-ground approach which has been very effective at building these inventories. Many DOTs are experimenting with other technologies, namely mobile LiDAR, to conduct these inventories and to achieve many other benefits from the 3D data captured in the process.

The next graphic illustrates the typical technology solution utilized for these projects. It is composed of the Riegl VMX-450 LiDAR unit, coupled with High-definition Right-of-Way (ROW) imagery. This system can collect at rates up to 1.1 KHz (1,100,000 pts/sec) at a precision of 5mm. It collects points in a circular (360-degree) pattern along the right-of-way from 2 scanner heads facing forward and to the rear of the vehicle in a crossing pattern. The laser captures 3D points at a density of 0.3 foot at speeds up to 70mph. This scanner can be adjusted to scan at a rate that is applicable for the project specifications to limit the amount of data collected and to ensure that the resulting point cloud data is manageable.

Right-of-Way imagery is also co-collected along with this LiDAR point cloud data. These images are used to identify appropriate attribution for each feature type being extracted from the point cloud. In this example, the DOT has digitized Shoulder, Driveway Culvert Ends, and Drainage Features (Culverts, Ditches and Bottom of Swale). Additional Features such as Signs, Signals, Striping, and Markings will also be extracted and then reported to the Feds on an annual basis. The mobile LiDAR data provides a 3D surface from which to compile the data and then the ROW imagery can be used for contextual purposes to support attribution. This methodology provides an effective process that can be used to create 3D vector layers and accurate attribution used to build a robust Enterprise GIS.

Both the ROW imagery and the mobile LiDAR can be used to collect and extract the RCI data efficiently for the DOTs and provides the DOT with a robust data set that can be leveraged into the future. The ROW imagery is typically used to map features at a mapping-grade level while the LiDAR can vary a bit in accuracy. Since the relative accuracy inherent in the LiDAR is very precise, it is used to conduct dimensional measurements related to clearances, sign panel sizes, lane widths, and other measurements that require a higher precision.

The DOT utilizes the derivative products from this RCI exercise to report to the Feds in a way that is pretty basic, but effective to achieve their level of funding. For example, the data capture is very technical in nature and focuses on high precision and accuracy. Then, the RCI data is extracted from this source data, maintaining a level of precision that is dictated by the source data. Then, the DOT takes this precise data and aggregates it up to a higher level and reports the total number of Signs or the lineal feet of guardrail. Even though the reporting of this data is pretty basic in nature, the origins of the data can still have precision and accuracy and can be used for other purposes related to Engineering Design or Asset Management.

In conclusion, mobile LiDAR and Right-of-Way imagery are a safe and accurate way to collect and report against RCI variables for DOTs. This methodology promotes a safe working environment for both the DOT worker and the traveling public. It is also a cost-effective way to collect large amounts of 3D point cloud data which can be utilized for other purposes within the same Agency.

DTS: Paving the Way in Brownsville, Texas

July 15, 2013

Brownsville, Texas has contracted DTS to take the first steps towards bettering road conditions throughout the City. The goal of this project is to develop sustainable pavement management program and DTS is happy to be a part of this improvement process! DTS will mobilize a mobile asset collection (MAC) vehicle to Brownsville to conduct the data collection on approximately 800 miles of roads.

The MAC vehicle is equipped with pavement and right of way cameras to perform the City’s pavement and asset collection and rating.  Forward and right facing cameras will collect imagery on assets in the median and right of way (ROW).  The ROW imagery collected will include signs, traffic lights, guard rails, curbs, manholes, and ADA ramps to name a few.  DTS will load the collected data into VUEWorks, a work and asset management software, to implement a pavement management system that will allow the City to track pavement and asset conditions, assess risk, forecast budgets, plan projects and evaluate pavement  deterioration.

Esri User Conference 2013

July 10, 2013

We have been greatly looking forward to this year’s annual Esri User Conference in San Diego, California July 8th through the 11th. Our CEO Allen Ibaugh and CMO Jason Amadori, GISP, are currently at the event.

The Esri User Conference is five days in which attendees can listen to and experience hundreds of success stories from various Esri Users.If you plan on attending and have an opportunity to see either Allen or Jason please stop by and say hello!

For more information about DTS (Data Transfer Solutions) please visit us online at

Happy Fourth of July

July 1, 2013

With all the BBQ’s and time spent with family and friends on this holiday we would like to share a few fun facts about this day and its heritage which will make for some good grilling conversation!

•The Fourth of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941

•The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal

•Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the Fourth; Adams and Jefferson died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826

•The first official Fourth of July party was held at the White House in 1801

•The number of American’s who will spend the holiday at other people’s homes is approximately 41 million

•Approximately 150 million hot dogs are consumed on this day

From all of us at DTS & VUEWorks, we wish you and your families a very happy and safe Fourth of July.

Call to Action: DTS’ Contributions to DelDOT

June 28, 2013

June 14, 2013, Delaware Department of Transportation successfully submitted their 2012 HPMS data. Data Transfer Solutions is proud to have contributed to DelDot’s successful collection and analysis of over 70 data items!

Under the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) guidelines, it is mandatory for all state DOTs to submit the Highway Performance Monitoring Report to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) annually. The data submitted in the HPMS report are used by the FHWA in the analysis of the highway system, covering its condition, performance, and investment needs as a part of the Biennial Condition and Performance Report to the Congress.

Congratulations for your successful submission, DelDOT!