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LiDAR Applications in Civil Engineering.

LiDAR can be defined as an integration of three techs into one system which is able to acquire data and produce precise DEMs (digital elevation models). Such techs include; inertial navigation systems, lasers, the Global Positioning System. These technologies enable the positioning of a lesser beam’s footprint as it hits the target to a great degree of accuracy.

Typically, LiDAR tech, which translates to Light Detection and Ranging, is known to use light to virtually plot any form of the physical environment. Through the use of the LiDAR technique, precise images can be obtained clearly. This is normally made possible through the use of accurate laser beams.

The following are the ways on how LiDAR can be applied in Civil Engineering:

  • Elevation Model.

Elevation values are crucial in civil engineering as they are widely applied in this field. Some of the areas in civil engineering that cannot go successfully without using the elevation model include; road construction, housing, and bridge-building, among other fields. The elevation model has made it easy to determine the surface height. Before the LiDAR technique was invented, other methods were used to capture the surface height, the standard method used those days was the photogrammetry method or the ground survey.

  • Tunnel Surveying.

Railway and road construction involve the creation of tunnels. These tunnels happen to be in the land, underwater, or even mountains. These usually require accurate measurements, which are used for analysis, modeling as well as assessment. The use of the LiDAR attains all these.

  • Ecological Land and Clarification.

This practice is done to offer physical and biological details of the landscape, which is vital in attaining sustainable management. The impotence of Ecological Land and Clarification is that it aids in creating the ultimate map as well as providing the precise surveying for the use by any kind of civil engineering works.

  • Urban Municipality.

The LiDAR technique is applied in the surveying of cities commonly done by the urban municipality. Its accuracy and quickness in conducting the survey are of great help to the municipality as it helps them understand the time to time progress in the city planning and identify the changes that could have been done. Through this technology, the city authorities can find out the illegal structures within the public backyard, thus helping them take the necessary action.

  • Exploring of Quarries and Mineral Regions.

LIDAR technology is used widely by archeologists to guide them in understanding the civilization of humans. This is achieved by locating quarry and mineral sites. These spots are easily detected by LIDAR tech. This practice is also essential for creating an image of the explicit materials of construction that would need to be used in the quarries.

  • Geology.

In geology, a combination of both LIDAR and global positioning system is applied in determining the fault and measuring the uplift. For instance, the finding of Seattle fault, which was done in the city of USA, in the state of Washington, is attributed to this technology. ICESat, a NASA satellite, is known to have a LIDAR sensor used in the monitoring of glaciers and performing the changes in coastal analysis.

  • LiDAR is Applied in Surveying of Sewer and Manhole.

Some regions of the sewer line cannot be accessed physical by a human. When such situations happen, LiDAR technology comes in place. This is attained by sending a sensor which is connected to a robotic machine to the sewer pipe to conduct the survey on the situation. The information relayed by the robotic machine is later fed to a computer for analysis. This practice is of great importance as it helps build perfect representations of the maintenance holes. On top of this, the information obtained also helps in creating exact designs of the maintenance holes to be used in other places.

  • Right to light.

This refers to the fact that each individual who owns a house is entitled to accessing proper lighting. This means that any other constructions should not obstruct the light from reaching other people’s houses. The LIDAR technology solves this problem easily as its data is capable of capturing a 3D model of the building. The GIS analysis can as well be used to create a shadow map that brings out the illumination region at a particular time of the day. This practice is of great help as it aids in solving disputes which could have arisen among the people in a particular area.

  • BIM.

GIS is a special tool that aids in organizing, planning, and subsequent growth in the energy as well as utility industries. Effective manning of energy systems is a complex challenge; however, it has been made easy by LIDAR technology through GIS. For instance, GIS has been of great help in planning, maintaining, and designing facilities. It also offers advanced services that are pocket-friendly, thus affordable to many people.

  • Architecture.


The LIDAR technology that is ground-based is used in taking of building structure. This data obtained is transferred to a computer where it can be used for architectural purposes in designing models of houses. The design obtained is of great importance as it can be used in creating ideal maps of the house being erected.

  • Recording of Buildings.

The LIDAR tech, which is ground-based, can be applied in recording the house from inside. This tech can as well be used in recording the details of the internal design too. The data obtained on this is usually printed on the 3D printer for modeling. The data can also be used in the event where the said house is being rebuilt to restore the internal design. This data is crucial as it aids in imitating the exact plan of the original building.


LIDAR technology has enabled the field of civil engineering to make great miles in multiple areas. The experts in this profession need to do further research with the aim of moving this tech to the next level. Lidar tech is not only applied in civil engineering but it is also vital in other fields.

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