I am writing a paper for an upcoming conference being sponsored by a new ASCE institute – Utility Engineering and Survey Institute, or UESI. The topic I am pursuing is the use of mobile lidar to collect as-built utility locations.
Believe it or not, the current standard practice is not good. If there is an as-built it is usually done it is likely to be a sketch with ties to physical objects on the surface with the depth recorded below grade, not an elevation based on a universal datum, like sea level or any real world coordinates.
James Anspach has been doing a lot of work on this as the Chair of the ASCE 38-02 committee. Have a look at this presentation. He is trying to get people to adopt a standard for as-builting utilities. I am sure it seems obvious to most of us, particularly in the case of underground utilities, but it is not happening.
Whether it be mobile or static lidar we all know that in a few short minutes the critical location information in 3D can be obtained with laser scanning. Now can someone convince the owners that this it is inexcusable not to do this?