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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Assessment of LiDAR- and Photogrammetry-based Airfield Roughness Profiling Techniques

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published July 10, 2019

The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has published the report/note described and linked below. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Report Number:

ERDC TR-19-11


Assessment of LiDAR- and Photogrammetry-based Airfield Roughness Profiling Techniques 


Andrew B. Ward, J. Kent Newman, and G. Bryan Herring IV


The measurement of surface roughness is one of the factors necessary for determining stable landing and take-off conditions on airfields. The U.S. Army identified a need for rapid and precise assessment of airfield surface roughness without grossly inhibiting aircraft traffic. The present standard of roughness measurement includes the use of cumbersome ground vehicle-based inertial profilers or slow-speed profilographs. The use of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) based photogrammetry for remote assessment has been highly successful and the data products derived from these systems are useful to surface roughness measurements. Roughness parameters like the Boeing Bump Index and International Roughness Index can be calculated using 3-D reconstructed surface data derived from photogrammetric techniques. Roughness parameters can also be calculated using the surface obtained by Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems. While LiDAR techniques are highly accurate and robust, they are often cost-prohibitive. The assessment of photogrammetry-based alternatives to LiDAR systems is required to satisfy airfield roughness measurement needs. Findings herein show that photogrammetric techniques can provide sufficient surface profiles for use in roughness measurement. This report compares multiple photogrammetric software packages for best correlation to actual surface profiles and concludes with a preferred method of surface roughness measurement using UAS-based photogrammetry.

59 pgs / 28 mb


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