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Reality Capture for Civil Infrastructure – Part 5

Reality Capture Guru
February 13, 2015

The last three posts outlined common uses of Reality Capture for infrastructure projects. Now let’s look at some less common applications of Reality Capture.

Emerging uses of Reality Capture

New uses of Reality Capture technology on infrastructure projects are being discovered and implemented every day. Below are some examples of novel uses of Reality Capture.

Project teams are capturing as-built conditions and using that data to assess deterioration or aging of infrastructure for maintenance decisions. For example, a newly constructed bridge is scanned and archived. On a regular basis, the bridge is rescanned. The two point clouds are compared to detect any shifting or sagging. This information is used to proactively plan maintenance—without the need for manual, visual bridge inspections.

Laser scanning and point clouds are being used to assess quality and safety during construction. For example, during the reconstruction of airport runways, scans of the environs around runways under construction are being used to document compliance with specific rules about construction equipment and material near an active runway.

Morrison-shipley reality capture airports

Increasingly, laser scanning and point clouds are being used to assess quality and safety during construction.
For example, during the reconstruction of airport runways, scans of the environs around runways
under construction are being used to document compliance with specific rules about
construction equipment and material near an active runway.
Image courtesy of Morrison-Shipley

Underwater laser scanning and sonar technology is capturing existing conditions of underwater terrain in rivers, ports, and harbors. Project teams are using this information to create existing conditions models for dredging, for historical preservation, for new construction of docks and bridge piers, for installing underground utilities, or for constructing roadway tunnels.

Many infrastructure projects involve both above-ground, below-ground, above-water, and below-water elements. Using traditional underground or underwater survey methods, verifying locations for these existing conditions was challenging, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Today, companies are using unmanned vehicles to survey these difficult landscapes and aggregating that information in a single model. For example, this technique has been particularly important for the Panama Canal expansion project, where new locks combined with the dredging and upgrading of ports will accommodate larger tankers. The first steps in the design process for these facilities included geophysical surveys to capture above and below-water existing conditions.

Our next post will wrap up this series by looking at some real-world examples of how companies are using Reality Capture for their projects.

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