Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a relatively new technology that is being used in many aspects of geology and engineering, including researching the potential for rock falls on highway rock cuts. At Missouri University of Science and Technology, we are developing methods for measuring joint orientations remotely and quantifying the raveling process. Measuring joint orientations remotely along highways is safer, more accurate and can result in larger and more accurate data sets, including measurements from otherwise inaccessible areas. Measuring the nature of rock raveling will provide the data needed to begin the process of modeling the rock raveling process. In both cases, terrestrial lidar scanning is used to generate large point clouds of coordinate triplets representing the surface of the rock cut. Automated algorithms have been developed to organize the lidar data, register successive images without survey control, and removal of vegetation and non-rock artifacts. In the first case, we look for planar elements, identify the plane and calculate the orientations. In the second case, we take a series of scans over time and use sophisticated change detection algorithms to calculate the numbers and volumes of rock that has fallen off the rock face.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Lidar; Rock Fall; Hazard; Rock Cuts; Highway

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

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© 2015 David Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2015

Included in

Geology Commons