3D laser scanning has brought immense benefits to the transportation field.
Different types of platforms for scanners have been introduced in recent times, be it scanning from a stationary position or mobile scanning with the lasers mounted on cars. Terrestrial scanners mounted on tripods are still the most cost effective way to map roads.
The benefits of 3D laser scanning over traditional survey methods with regards to transportation (roadways) include:
Laser scanners can be set to collect points at 3 centimetres apart at a hundred meters from the scanner. This dense data collection ensures that any feature to be mapped will be captured accurately and precisely. The application of this data is appreciated when cross sections and profiles can be cut at any interval along a corridor or roadway with high accuracy and the comfort that no features will be left out as against collecting points via a total station at 10 meter intervals.
3D Laser scanning captures every visible feature from the scanners purview. Once the scanner location is strategically established to maximize coverage, details such as overhead power lines, water valves, fire hydrants, manholes and road striping are easily captured. With traditional survey methods, the extra effort is needed to capture these features which are obtained in minutes from the scanner in great detail. The data collected from the scanner will take minutes as against days with a survey crew. Any feature missed by the survey crew requires another trip to the site, but with laser scanning all you need to do is "revisit" the point cloud in the computer in the comfort of the office.
3D laser scanning is the safest way to conduct a survey on roadways. Points are captured during fast moving traffic with no harm to the survey team. Traditional survey methods require someone to hold a pole and target on the edges and centre line of the road to obtain points. This is dangerous and risky.