Lidar Obstruction Surveys and Imagery Data for Airport Applications


This paper presents the state-of-the-knowledge of recent innovations in airport obstruction surveys and spaceborne satellite imagery technologies for airport layout plans and related airport applications. Remote sensing LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) technology has been evaluated in recent years for acceptable topographic accuracy standards, and used to expedite highway alignment design and construction projects. Recent research efforts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NOAA in the US prove that airborne LIDAR topographic data can be used effectively and accurately for mapping obstructions including treetops, cell towers, and poles. This significant improvement saves time and costs, compared to traditional field topographic surveying and aerial photogrammetric surveys. The objective and scope of an on-going national study on LIDAR obstruction survey technology in the US is presented. The overall goal is to enhance the accuracy and current practice of airport obstruction surveys while reducing costs. The research study investigates the data needs, formats, hardware, and software used to ensure the compatibility of airborne LIDAR data with geographic information systems (GIS), computer-aided design (CAD), visualization, and other applications, which airports may use in preparation of obstruction surveys and aeronautical maps. Also, discussed is, use of aerial and satellite stereo imageries for mapping obstructions. Presented are examples of visualization tools and 3D modeling of obstruction-free surface and airport infrastructure. These remote sensing data offer tremendous benefits to airport operators and airlines enhancing safety, expediting obstruction surveys, and adapting visualization technologies for airport applications. Vendor-neutral specifications and procedures are needed in order to procure and adapt these innovative LIDAR data acquisition and visualization technologies, which must be acceptable to the aviation agencies, airports, and airlines.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

International Conference on Transport Infrastructure (ICTI)

Conference Date

Apr 24 - Apr 26, 2008

Publisher Place

Beijing, China

Document Type

Conference Proceeding