Civil and Environmental Engineering


Date of this Version



Wood RL, Mohammadi ME (2015). LiDAR Scanning with Supplementary UAV Captured Images for Structural Inspections. International LiDAR Mapping Forum 2015, Denver, CO, February 23-25, 2015, 10pp.


Structural assessment using remote sensing technologies can be performed efficiently and effectively using such technologies as LiDAR (light detection and ranging). LiDAR can be employed for various structural assessments, such as as-built conditions for a newly constructed facility, routine inspection during its service life, or structural collapse evaluation after a natural hazard or extreme event. However, the main disadvantage of LiDAR is that it is a line-of-sight technology that can result in significant occlusions. Architectural or structural components can be partially or fully occluded by another object with respect to the location of the laser scanner. Supplemental photogrammetry techniques, such as structure from motion (SfM), can be introduced into the workflow to reduce the occlusion in the final result. Since high-resolution cameras have the ability to be mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), typical areas of occlusion associated with ground-based LiDAR and supported structural coverings (e.g. roof or bridge deck) can be reconstructed. In this approach, aerial SfM is selected due to the low investment and operational costs in comparison to airborne LiDAR. This paper demonstrates the techniques and results of both LiDAR and aerial SfM for a case study building. Images captured with a UAV supplement the collected LiDAR and allow for a holistic scene reconstruction. The benefits of deployment of a combined remote sensing platform, such as this, are demonstrated in the case of reconnaissance in the aftermath of extreme events.