Rock slope stability analysis utilizing ground-based LIDAR and digital image processing

John Kemeny, Brian Norton, Keith Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This paper describes the use of ground-based LIDAR for rock mass characterization. Ground-based LIDAR (also referred to as laser scanning) consists of a compact instrument that rapidly sends out laser pulses and calculates the three dimensional position of reflected objects. A typical scan takes 10 to 15 minutes and results in a three-dimensional point cloud containing 1 to 1.5 million points. Laser-scanners have a range of up to 800 m and an accuracy of ± 3-10 mm. Along with the laser measurements, high-resolution digital images are also taken which can be geo-registered with the point cloud. Software now exists for automatically processing the point cloud and associated digital images to extract rock discontinuity information. This information includes discontinuity orientation, roughness, size and spacing. The use of LIDAR along with automated point cloud processing address several important problems with traditional field discontinuity characterization, including problems with safety, remote access, cost, time, and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8+10-15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Energy


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