Drones for Surveying

How to use Drone LiDAR for River Scour Surveys

Surveying by Land, Water, and Air at the Pearl River in Jackson, Mississippi

See how Tice Engineering uses drone LiDAR for river scour surveys in this drone surveying reality series.

The Pearl River cuts through the heart of Jackson, Mississippi and also provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of residents. However, the water source can also pose a threat to the local community when the levels flood.  That’s why the Mississippi D-O-T is relying on Tice Engineering to survey 150 acres surrounding the Pearl River to examine flood zones and inspect Bridge scour.

The Tice team will need to scan over and under local infrastructure such as railway bridges and under the water bordering the bridge foundations. To get the job done and create a highly detailed 3D surface, Tice will be deploying drone Lidar from the air, terrestrial scanning on the ground, and hydrographic scanning under the water.

Watch these episodes to see if Tice Engineering can harness the power of all three technologies only on Down to Earth: Land, Sea, and Air.

Click the image above to watch episode 1

“Down to Earth” is a documentary-style reality series that shows how real surveyors collect data and turn it into real deliverables, despite challenging conditions, hidden dangers, and inclement weather. 

In this first episode, the Tice Team begins the survey process to inspect flood zones and Bride scour by deploying a Z-Boat to scan under the water and around the bridge abutments and the mdLiDAR1000HR to scan the entire area from the air. “Tice Engineering was looking for a tool that would help them increase their safety and productivity,” said Chuck Snow, the Eastern Sales Manager for Microdrones. “After a demonstration of our drone technology, they saw how quickly and accurately the mdLiDAR1000HR would help them complete projects, especially like the survey job at the Pearl River.”

Ryan Tice, the President of Tice Engineering, quickly recognized that new surveying technology would set his business apart and enable his team to complete surveys more efficiently and safely.  “We’ll be using drone LiDAR from the air to collect data for the entire site, terrestrial scanning for under the bridges, and hydrographic scanning under the water to capture the bridge abutments and foundation under the water,” explains Tice.  “The goal will be to combine the data from all three systems to create a fully developed three-dimensional model that the DOT can use to create a model and look for river scour.”  

Matthew Jones, PS, Tice Engineering, operates the mdLiDAR1000HR to survey the Pearl River

In the 2nd episode, Terrestrial Scanning is added into the surveying mix to capture points under the bridge as the mdLiDAR1000HR continues to fly above the full site, completing the project.  “With the terrestrial scanner, we can pick up all the structure below the bridges, that are in the flood plain,” said Matthew Jones, Professional Surveyor at Tice Engineering. “Then with the drone from above, we’ll collect the bridge decks, railings, and the rest of the infrastructure.”   

The mdLiDAR1000HR also helps keep the crew out of harm's way and complete the work in the field. According to Jones, “the terrain at this site is uneven, sandy, and the slopes slough off when you walk on them.   With the drone, we were able to collect very dense data, of the entire site, without traversing the entire site. Our guys only needed to access the bridge areas for the terrestrial scanning.”

A portion of the 3D point cloud created from the mdLiDAR1000HR

For the 3rd episode, the Tice Team heads back to their office to process the data collected from all three surveying technologies.  Their goal will be to combine the LAS files from the Z boat, the Terrestrial scanner, and the mdLiDAR1000HR so they can build one complete surface model of the entire project for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Colt Ratliff, VP, Survey Manager at Tice Engineering, acknowledged the drone Lidar helped merge the entire survey project. “The mdLiDAR1000HR helped us access the entire river area, much easier than conventional topographic survey methods,” he said. “The river stage is always a major concern, especially with the water levels. This technology ensures we get data from high water, low water, and all the ground cover that’s exposed at that time.”

About Tice Engineering

Tice Engineering, Inc. is a multi-disciplined engineering firm that is dedicated to providing quality engineering and surveying services to both private and public entities in virtually every industry and/or governmental system.

Tice Engineering provides services for a variety of clients and projects, ranging in size from small parcels to coastal restoration and diversion projects, natural disaster recovery and rehabilitation, water/sewer infrastructure, highway design, port infrastructure, military installation projects, commercial/residential developments, and traffic signalization. 

Microdrones and GeoCue have joined together to bring geospatial experts the very best in drone surveying equipment, geospatial software, workflow, training and support for high accuracy LiDAR and drone mapping. With TrueView drone LiDAR and imagery sensors, LP360 point cloud data processing software, and fully integrated systems from Microdrones, we are the leader in LiDAR mapping processing, able to meet customers where they are in terms of technology adoption, budget, and resources. 

To learn more about our full portfolio of aerial surveying equipment and software, schedule a meeting with one of our sales managers today.