There is little doubt that LiDAR is playing an increasingly important role in day-to-day rail maintenance and planning. In Australia we see a strong desire amongst our rail clients to leverage LiDAR more in their business, but LiDAR datasets alone are only part of the story. We asked Agonics Technical Director, David Presley, what networks should look for in terms of integrating LiDAR into their routine maintenance practices.
“I would say that from decades working with rail clients the same basic principles apply to solving any engineering challenge. The first of these is to understand what your actual requirements are before commissioning any LiDAR survey or buying hardware to do it yourself. A common pitfall is to focus on the hardware at the expense of downstream thinking as LiDAR scanners are relatively easy to understand and compare. However, the ancillary technology such as inertial measurement devices and trajectory understanding, which are needed to inform the raw LiDAR data and allow correlation back to the track reference systems, are often not on people’s radar. We’ve seen so many examples of datasets being collected without first really understanding why or without mapping out a workflow that will take this data and solve a business problem with it.”
“The second principle I think is to not underestimate the change management needed in your organisation to leverage LiDAR successfully in day-to-day maintenance. We are beginning to see some real maturity in this space now in the industry, which is great to see.”