Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Safety and Record of Survey

While I have started drafting new posts to start the new year, nothing is complete to date.  However, this is too important a topic to discuss to delay posting.  My esteemed colleague Aaron Morris pointed me to an online story that speaks directly to the topics of safety and record of survey.  We take every precaution to successfully and safely complete a collection.  Baker operates our Mobile LiDAR vehicle with two persons - one dedicated to driving, while the other concentrates on the data collection.  There are numerous road obstacles that warrant a driver's undivided attention, particularly when an expensive piece of equipment is mounted to the roof.  Therefore, the operator is also responsible for assisting with navigation and hazard detection when it is warranted.

As data is collected - both LiDAR and imagery - detailed survey information is recorded. The data is georeferenced and time-stamped.  It is simple to retrace the field activities to determine application of best practices; that necessary routes were/are collected; the information meets the scope of work and other conditions.  We review vehicle trajectory, raw LiDAR data, or photography to validate the information and communicate results.  We do place close attention to operating speeds with respect to posted speed limits and the environment being collected. These are some of the measures we employ to ensure a culture of safety, achieve safety ratings, and mitigate any potential liability.

Typically, however, we do not publish our information freely on the web.  Should we elect to do so, I believe the precautions we take would eliminate confusion and stories such as this:  Story

After a quick search, we learned that you drive on the left-hand side of the road in Botswana.  Perhaps that wasn't taken into consideration by the reporter.  You decide.

2 comments:

  1. That's quite an interesting story! But not well researched by Fox, as if you go far enough out in the photos, you can see the donkey standing up as another truck drives by (missing the donkey). Strange as it seems, it does lie down in the road and then gets up again. Your point that they drive on the left is also helpful, as you can see the dust cloud is behind the Google car, helping identify that the donkey walks away unscathed.

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  2. Thanks for the comment. We did notice the other vehicle as well. It's the combination of coincidences that's interesting to me - two cars passing near a donkey on a remote road in Botswana, that happens to have StreetView. I think the face of the driver of the Land Rover shows a bit of shock with experiencing a StreetView car in such an area.

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What is Mobile LiDAR?

Mobile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems are comprised of vehicle-mounted lasers, cameras and GPS/INS navigation systems to capture highly-detailed and accurate three-dimensional (3D) topographic information for surveying and engineering applications. Michael Baker International became an early adopter of Mobile LiDAR technology by acquiring our first system in 2009, with further expansions in 2014 and 2015 that increased our fleet to four (4) Optech Lynx SG1 Mobile LiDAR systems. Over that period our systems have completed more than 300 projects throughout 29 different U.S. States (and multiple countries), and encompassing hundreds of thousands of miles. Our project portfolio includes applications in roadway design, 3D modeling, railroad corridors, signaled intersections, utility infrastructure, asset management, pavement condition assessment and airport infrastructure.