Elephant Butte/Trinity UAV/ROV Photogrammetric Processing

Project ID: 7738
Principal Investigator: Matthew Klein
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can small unmanned aerial vehicle's (sUAV's) and remotely operated vehicle's (ROV's) high definition (HD) video
be used in lieu of visual inspection of concrete? And can 3D models be generated from underwater digital images
for condition assessment, measuring, and repair material quantities? Also can the digital information captured
from a modern UAV be used to accurately evaluate the condition of a dam?

Need and Benefit

This work would provide the ground rules and confidence needed to regularly deploy sUAV's and ROV's for site
condition assessments using photogrammetric techniques. Photogrammetry can generate 3D models of
structures quickly and efficiently when compared to sonar and lidar.
Reclamation does not have an official UAV or ROV inspection program. We currently use rope teams and divers
for these inaccessible feature inspections but in the case of Trinity intake structure, the tunnel is too dangerous
to deploy divers due to its depth, length and confined spaces. When a rope team member was asked about the
competition from a UAV, the reply was that he was more than willing to practice his expertise in a recreational
setting if that meant his job were safer and cheaper. In addition to not having an UAV or ROV
inspection program, photogrammetry has not been implemented as a regular alternative to sonar and lidar 3D
modeling in Reclamation.
The main benefit to Reclamation is that photogrammetry, when combined with HD cameras on a sUAV's and
ROV's, allow for assessments without the use of rope teams and divers and can be operated in potentially
hazardous and inaccessible areas. It will provide a previously unavailable method of evaluating many of
Reclamations's structures, tunnels, pipes and tanks that are difficult or cannot be accessed and help to identify
and quantify problems before they become critical.

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 Processing from Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Data: Trinity Dam Intake Tunnel (final, PDF, 6.1MB)
By Matthew Klein
Publication completed on September 30, 2016

A long range ROV was operated on the intake structure at Trinity Dam in California to collect photogrammetric data and also provided a complete HD video inspection and 3D laser scanning of high risk deterioration areas. The photogrammetric processing was performed by Reclamation.

Photogrammetric Processing from Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Data: Elephant Butte Dam (final, PDF, 10.8MB)
By Matthew Klein
Publication completed on September 30, 2016

A UAV was flown over Elephant Butte Dam to collect optical and IR photogrammetric data to be used as a condition assessment of the structure.

ROV Data Collection and Photogrammetry From Trinity Dam Intake Structure (final, PDF, 601KB)
By Matthew Kline
Publication completed on March 01, 2017

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

UAS Data Collection and Photogrammetry From Elephant Butte Dam (final, PDF, 607KB)
By Matthew Kline
Publication completed on March 01, 2017

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17