Identifying bridge deformation using laser scanning data

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Increasing traffic weights and aggressive environmental conditions may result in unexpected deterioration of a bridge’s components. Particularly, most bridges in Europe and US over half life span are affected by such impact. Structural deficiencies may cause partial or full collapse of bridges resulting in problems for human life, economy, society and environment. As such, deformation monitoring of the bridge’s components has high priority in bridge inspection and assessment. Laser scanning has been used to capture the three-dimensional (3D) topographic surface of structures accurately and efficiently, which can be subsequently used to measure change of the structures. This paper introduces three approaches called point-to-surface (P2S), point-to-cell (P2C) and cell-to-cell (C2C) to measure the deformation of a structure using laser scanning data. This study also investigates the impact of the quality of a point cloud and selected surface or cell size to the achieved accuracy of deformation detection, which will be demonstrated through an implementation to measure the bridge’s vertical clearance, which is the maximum vertical drop distance from the bottom of the bridge deck to the ground or water level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event4th Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring - Eugenides Foundation, Athens, Greece
Duration: 15 May 201917 May 2019


Conference4th Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring
Abbreviated titleJISDM
Internet address


  • Bridge deformation
  • vertical clearance
  • laser scanning
  • point cloud
  • cell grid


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