“The automated, AI-supported derivation of infrastructure objects from laser scan point clouds enables an enormous increase in efficiency and cost reduction for the inventory of road infrastructure.” Roland Degelmann, Bavarian State Ministry of Housing, Building and Transport
As 3D scanning technologies for mobile mapping have evolved, their applications have expanded – including the scanning of highways and other horizontal infrastructure. However, each scan of a section of roadway presents an incredible challenge: how to handle the massive amounts of data generated – and how to extract usable, relevant information from them.
These challenges are not unique to mobile mapping. The creation of point clouds for infrastructure projects can generate huge amounts of data in any 3D scanning scenario, but the challenges are especially great for miles-long highway digitization projects due to their sheer size combined with the need for millimeter accuracy.
The Bavarian State Ministry of Housing, Building and Transport is regularly tasked with surveying existing road networks throughout Bavaria – sometimes as a case-by-case basis for new construction projects, and other times with regularity to assess the conditions of road surfaces. These regular inspections are carried out at least every four years for road surface; comprehensive inspection for bridges occurs at least every six years. More frequent inspections for certain areas are performed in a matter of specific security concerns. Using BIM and digitizing these roadway assets is important as part of their planning and building goals, says Roland Degelmann, Head of Unit Digital Transformation at the Bavarian State Ministry of Housing, Building and Transport.
“With the introduction of digital models and processes, the advantages of digitization are combined with those of cooperative work processes in planning, construction and operation to increase quality as well as cost and schedule reliability.”
Rethinking Manual Classification
In their digitization workflows, Cloud-Vermessung + Planung GmbH, a surveying company, typically uses a Trimble MX9 Measuring unit to survey roads and takes lidar scans with RIEGL scanners. The recording of these scans generates large amounts of raw data, which traditionally have to be evaluated manually.
On behalf of the Bavarian State Building Authority, Supper & Supper has endeavored to use their SaaS solution, Pointly, to reduce the manual processing efforts and overcome challenges of scanned road and highway datasets once collected. At the start, Supper & Supper has used existing mobile mapping laser scans of sections of the A92 and A99, generated by Cloud-Vermessung + Planung GmbH, as a means to train the software. By automating the manual measurement of highways and overpasses, it will be possible in the future to assess much larger road sections in a fraction of the time.