Photogrammetric Tools for Condition Assessment of Reclamation Structures

Project ID: 493
Principal Investigator: Matthew Klein
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: photogrammetry, condition assessment, aging infrastructure, inspection, remote monitoring, measurement, gps, infrared, hd video, 3d modeling, point cloud, cad, structural analysis, hydraulic analysis, ultraviolet, software. smartphone

Research Question

How can the latest photogrammetric techniques and technologies be used to improve condition assessments of Reclamation structures?

Need and Benefit

Non-visible Light Photogrammetry: Research has shown that subsurface defects can be detected using other types of light detection such as thermal IR and UV sensors. Information regarding different types of non-visible light sensors and photogrammetric application will be explored and outlined.
Point Cloud Conversion to 3D CAD: Photogrammetry models are typically exported to a point cloud for use in various analysis programs. However, a reliable, easy method for converting the point cloud to 3D CAD elements needs to be explored. The resulting CAD elements would be able to be used in structural and hydraulic analysis models. The point clouds can be imported into some AutoDesk software including Revit but the method for converting to 3D elements needs to be developed.
Client Software for Viewing 3D Models: Typically the final step in reporting the 3D model involves reducing the model to several 2D images to represent the data in a report or easily-accessible data presentation. AutoDesk has a free drawing viewer that allows the user to manipulate, annotate and make comments about the drawing. The same type of software should be researched for point cloud viewing for the client in order to demonstrate, analyze and communicate client needs.
Other Photogrammetry Software: Reclamation has experience with several software packages for photogrammetry including Adam Tech 3DM Analyst, Agisoft Photoscan, Eos Systems Photomodeler, Pix4D Mapper and VisualSFM to name a few. There are other software packages available that may perform specialized functions or feature lower costs for the same results. These software packages should be researched, analyzed, demoed, and compared to determine if any of them could be better suited for use at Reclamation or for specific projects.
The final result of this scoping study would be a report outlining the results of each of these challenge and application areas with plans to proceed on laboratory studies. The report will also identify others within and outside of Reclamation who would be able to collaborate to implement the results from the study.
As can be seen, results from this research would greatly enhance Reclamation's knowledge and application of photogrammetry's unique process to the agency's diverse and specialized infrastructure. It would set Reclamation apart as an authority on 3D modeling and analysis. In addition, exploration would lead to additional challenges and opportunities.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Photogrammetric Tools for Condition Assessment of Reclamation Structures (final, PDF, 1.6MB)
By Matthew Klein
Publication completed on September 30, 2015

Photogrammetry is a low-cost 3D modeling solution that can be used for condition assessment of Reclamation structures. However, using photogrammetry for condition assessment requires specialized, novel and obscure techniques. This report describes some of the techniques researched and applied to projects at Reclamation in FY15. This project was extended into FY16 to continue researching these techniques.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17