This was one of the key side discussions on the final day of the very successful TRB AFB80 summer meeting. The expected increase in autonomous and connected (the vehicle is connected to the infrastructure via dedicated radio signal) vehicle use, as well as the mandate for transportation agencies in the U.S. to preserve their assets is re-invigorating a long standing disagreement that perhaps has a chance of finally being resolved, the optimist said.
Based on today’s presentations and recent others I think it is fair to say that a high definition map with survey grade accuracy is needed to support autonomous and connected vehicles. The GIS group in most DOT’s is working off a linear referencing system which they have a significant effort in developing and supporting, but which will not support high definition mapping.
The GIS group has a lot of database expertise to support the asset management mandate. The survey group has a lot of mapping expertise to offer for locating the assets, but they are now deeply committed to the use of GNSS and in 2022 the accuracy is going to be 1cm horizontal and 2cm vertical after occupying a station for 15 minutes – incredible.
A combination of mobile lidar and aerial photogrammetry are the likely methods for creating the high definition maps. These will be controlled with GNSS. The question will then become what is the GIS group going to do about the linear referencing system.
I would like to think that with the encouragement of the FHWA and the senior management of the transportation agencies that the need to all be on one system built for the future with GNSS control will prevail.