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Underground mapping for flood modelling with mobile LiDAR

By Eric Van Rees - 21st April 2023 - 05:55

Mobile LiDAR scanners are mapping underground spaces in Belfast to better understand and prepare for coastal flooding.

The use of innovative technology provides greater clarity of large flood risk areas for surveyors, through the creation of flood models.

With sea levels predicted to rise 12 inches by 2050, sufficient flood defences and a better understanding of water flow help to mitigate risk to coastal towns and cities. Globally, LiDAR solutions help to create the foundations for flood modelling of large areas, however, they seldom consider mapping underground spaces. UrbanArk, a joint research project under the US-Ireland research and development programme, seeks to change this by using modern LiDAR technologies.

The UrbanArk Project aims to improve resilience and emergency preparedness against coastal flooding in urban centres. Accurately predicting flood behaviour is complicated, especially when not accounting for underground spaces. By presenting the research, UrbanArk demonstrates why incomplete data in high-risk areas poses risks to the population.

Research by Dr Aaron Miller, a Research Assistant at Queens University Belfast, focuses on the acquisition and analysis of static and mobile LiDAR data. Working as part of the UrbanArk project, Dr Miller captured both above and below-ground data in areas of Belfast using a handheld SLAM scanner from UK tech firm GeoSLAM (A FARO Solution). He further used a terrestrial laser scanner, the FARO Focus, to complement the data.

The research took place at three universities: Queens University Belfast, University College Dublin, and New York University. Due to its considerable amount of subsurface space and proximity to the coast, Belfast proved to be an ideal candidate for the research.

Read More: Laser Scanning Marine

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