Improved Approach to LIDAR Airport Obstruction Surveying Using Full-Waveform Data


Over the past decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geodetic Survey, in collaboration with multiple organizations, has conducted research into airport obstruction surveying using airborne light detection and ranging (LIDAR). What was initially envisioned as a relatively straightforward demonstration of the utility of this emerging remote sensing technology for airport surveys was quickly shown to be a challenging undertaking fraught with both technical and practical issues. We provide a brief history of previous work in LIDAR airport obstruction surveying, including a discussion of both past achievements and previously unsolved problems. We then present a new processing workflow, specifically designed to overcome the remaining problems. A key facet of our approach is the use of a new LIDAR waveform deconvolution and georeferencing strategy that produces very dense, detailed point clouds in which the vertical structures of objects are well characterized. Additional processing steps have been carefully selected and ordered based on the objectives of meeting Federal Aviation Administration requirements and maximizing efficiency. Tests conducted using LIDAR waveform data for two project sites demonstrate the efficacy of the approach.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Journal of Surveying Engineering


135, Issue 2



Publisher Place

Reston, VA, USA


American Society for Civil Engineers

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article