Traditional survey methods are time consuming and typically require bridges, roads, and other construction infrastructure to be impeded or closed altogether during the data-gathering process. These days, construction technology is allowing teams to collect measurements faster without slowing down traffic.

In an effort to gather detailed surveys of 7,250 bridges throughout the state of California, Caltrans, the California Dept. of Transportation, www.dot.ca.gov, Sacramento, Calif., looked for a solution that could gather documentation without causing traffic.

One of the drivers for gathering this data was revised standards from the FHA (Federal Highway Admin.), www.fhwa.dot.gov, Washington, D.C., bridge inspection program, which require the longitude and latitude location of each bridge to be established along with a measurement of minimum clearance horizontally and vertically.

In order to gather this data, Caltrans worked with Terrametrix, www.terrametrix3D.com, Omaha, Neb., which developed a workflow to process the data collected by a 3D mapping system.

The StreetMapper system, www.streetmapper.com, which is developed by 3D Laser Mapping, www.3dlasermapping.com, Nottingham, United Kingdom, is designed for 3D mapping of highways, runways, railways, infrastructure, and buildings, allowing for automated data extraction using statistical algorithms.

Working with Caltrans, Terrametrix used vehicle-mounted lasers to collect survey-grade measurements and as-built data of existing infrastructure. Using the technology, it was able to gather information in one day—without impeding traffic.

For construction infrastructure teams, traditional survey methods can be time consuming. With vehicle-mounted lasers and backoffice software, contractors can gather data much faster.