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Short Term Monitoring of Forest Road

Pavement Degradation Using Terrestrial Laser

Article March 2017

DOI: 10.1016/j.measurement.2017.02.045


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Serdar Akburak Murat Demir

Istanbul University Istanbul University


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Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

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Short term monitoring of forest road pavement degradation using

terrestrial laser scanning
Mustafa Akgul a,, Huseyin Yurtseven b, Serdar Akburak c, Murat Demir a, Hikmet Kerem Cigizoglu d,
Tolga Ozturk a, Mert Eksi e, Anl Orhan Akay a
Istanbul University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Construction and Transportation, Turkey
Istanbul University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Surveying and Cadastre, Turkey
Istanbul University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Soil Science and Ecology, Turkey
Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Civil Engineering Department, Turkey
Istanbul University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Landscape Architecture, Turkey

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Degradation on the forest roads have an important factor for the traffic safety and the safe drive of the
Received 17 November 2016 vehicles. The aim of the study is to determine accurately the degradation rate of the pavement with high
Received in revised form 18 January 2017 precisions, exposed to deformation by meteorological conditions in the short term, on the forest roads
Accepted 25 February 2017
using with ZF 5010C Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS).
Available online 1 March 2017
Road surface model results which are obtained from areal comparison digital surface model show that
maximum swelling and collapsing values occurred on depth of (0.00)(0.01) and (0.00)(0.01) during
between November 2015 and April 2016. According to result of volumetric analysis of digital surface
Terrestrial laser scanning
Road surface model
models, maximum net gain volume was calculated as 32.50 m3 (73.70%) in JanuaryDecember, while
Road deformation net loss was calculated maximum 30.24 m3 (61.67%) in DecemberNovember. Volumetric degradation
results are compared with meteorological factors. According to comparison it was observed that degra-
dation and sediment production from forest roads surface is related to total rainfall.
Our results revealed that Terrestrial laser scanner can be used effectively in measurement of degrada-
tion. Additionally, 1 cm resolution is sufficient in terms of accuracy of evaluation. Also, registration and
geo-referencing is one of the most important factors for accuracy of surface model.
2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Currently there are two different approaches to collecting and

monitoring pavement degradation [5] (Table 1). Manual data col-
Rutting is a main problem road surface on the forest road. lection method is employed in many countries.
Because water collects in this ruts and subjects the pavement to Traditionally, several researchers have studied with rutting
ponding and freezing eventually causing the pavement to deterio- method which is one of the manual methods for measurement
rate [1]. However, pavement degradation is the most important and observation of the forest road pavement degradation [69].
factor for traffic safety and safe drive of the vehicles [2]. This method requires slow and low precise data [1012].
Pavement degradation will be affected from meteorological fac- Recently, automated data collection methods became wide-
tors, traffic payload, maintenance application, pavement structure spread with the development of technology and remote sensing
and the other factors (Fig. 1) [3]. methods on pavement degradation [1316]. One of this methods
Deformation on road surface will be increased depending on is the laser scanning technique which has recently become more
pavement structure in low volume forest road. Forest road serve and more popular for a wide range of applications because of its
different function for managing forestry activities [4]. One of this capability to acquire a lot of information with a high degree of
activities is timber harvesting. For that reason, different heavy detail in relatively short time [17]. Nowadays terrestrial laser scan-
vehicles operate on forest road to haul wood based forest products. ners (TLS) can be used in several areas such as reverse engineering
application [18] documentation of cultural heritage [1921], geo-
logical survey [22], deformation measurement/calculation [23],
Corresponding author. Pavement roughness evaluation [24], analyzing of road profile
E-mail address: (M. Akgul). [25], and analyzing of road roughness [26].
0263-2241/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
284 M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Fig. 1. Factors, and interactions, which can affect pavement performance [3].

Table 1
Comparison of automated and manual pavement data collection methods [5].

Automated data collection method Manual data collection method

Time Reduces data collection times Longer data collection times
Safety Much safer means of collecting data Personnel at risk collecting data
Objectivity Objective measurements Usually subjective since it depends on experience of personnel
Cost Very expensive equipment costs Relatively less expensive
Data size Vast amounts of data collected & stored depending on capacity of equipment Agencies may only be able to collect smaller amounts of data at a time
Data Not subject to transcription errors Subject to transcription errors
Employers Suitable in agencies seeking to downsize number of employees Source of employment for rating staff
Coverage May cover footprint of data collection vehicle Inspectors can cover entire width of road section relatively easier

Terrestrial laser scanners main advantages are high speed data tice Forest close to Sariyer, Istanbul. The research field is at Thra-
capture, non contact data capture, acquisition rates (several thou- cian side of Marmara Region, between 28590 1700 29320 2500 east
sand points per second) allowing very high resolutions, high preci- longitudes and 41090 1500 41110 0100 north latitudes according to
sion (centimeter), easy acquisition, measures range: cm-km [27]. Greenwich. In this study, a forest road (no: 001) was selected in
The most important advantage of the using TLS method is that a Istanbul University Education Research and Practice Forest
very high point density can be achieved, in the order of 510 mm (Fig. 2). The road no. 001 is classified as Normal Type-B forest road.
resolution [28]. Considering these advantages and especially col- Total length of forest road is 530 m while road platform width is
lection of data with high precision, TLS technique has become 4 m. Road has composed six horizontal curves. Minimum curve
widely used for monitoring pavement degradation in highway radius is 10 m and maximum curve radius is 15 m.
engineering applications [29].
Forest roads should have a stabile pavement permanently for 2.2. Data acquisition and post processing of point cloud data
safety harvesting as well as safe drive for vehicles. For this reason,
high-cost maintenance and renewal works take part in periodic Workflow steps executed at the stages of processing of data and
forest road maintenance and repair works. analysis are presented in the following diagram (Fig. 3).
The aim of the study is to determine accurately the degradation TLS measurements were completed with phase based scanner Z
rate of the pavement with high precisions, exposed to deformation +F Imager 5010C on super high mode. It can reach an accuracy of
by meteorological conditions for six months between October 0.4 mm at distance of 25 m and it is able to acquire to 1.016 million
2015 and April 2016, on the forest roads using with ZF 5010C pixels/s (Fig. 4, Table 2).
phase based Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS). All raw scans were registered by using Z+FLaserControl V8.6.0
commercial software. Registration was performed by using fixed
2. Material and method and portable targets (Fig. 5). An average of 2 fixed target and 6 por-
table targets was used at between two scan stations. Portable tar-
2.1. Study area gets were just used for registering point cloud data and distributed
around road pavement. There were no portable target located on
The research field determined as the subject of the study is the the road surface to prevent data losses. Fixed targets were used
northern plot of Istanbul University Education Research and Prac- as reference points for georeferencing and registering of monthly
M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293 285

Fig. 2. Location map of the study area.

Fig. 3. Data processing workflow stages.

acquired point cloud data. These targets were fixed permanently to ond step using of these GCPs with total station for coordinating
the tree trunks around road for guarantee the spatial accuracy and the fixed targets. With this process, fixed target coordinates were
integration of periodically acquired data. obtained as UTM ED1950 coordinate system. Approximately
In the process of coordinating of the fixed targets to the 20 m horizontal distance between two-scan stations were adopted
National Cartographic Coordinate System, two-stage measurement in this research and TLS is installed at 2 m height at each scan sta-
network were established. First step is building of ground control tion. This pattern gives the minimum point density at 10 m, where
points (GCP) with NRTK GNSS on the road surface and at the sec- is the midpoint of the two scan station.
286 M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Fig. 4. Scanning equipment of Z+F 5010C.

According to the factory data of the terrestrial laser scanner sys-

Table 2
tem which is used in this research (ZF5010C), the angular resolu-
Technical specification of laser scanner.
tion is 0.018 (vertical and horizontal) at Super High mode,
Laser class 1 which provides a distance of 0.0164 m between the two points in
Beam divergence <0.3 mrad
the point cloud data at a distance of 10 m from the single scan sta-
Beam diameter approx. 3.5 mm @ 0.1 m
Range 187.3 m (unambiguity interval)
tion in the horizontal plane. Theoretically at 10 m distance (mid-
Minimum distance 0.3 m point) from two scan station, resolution should reach twice the
Resolution range 0.1 mm value of single scan station. So, which point to point distance
Data acquisition rate max. 1.016 million pixel/s expect to should be 0.0082 m in registered point cloud data at
Linearity error 1 mm
10th meter between two scan stations.
Range noise Black 14% Grey 37% White 80%
Range noise, 10 m 0.4 mm rms 0.3 mm rms 0.2 mm rms After the geo-referencing, noise data were reduced by applying
Range noise, 25 m 0.6 mm rms 0.4 mm rms 0.3 mm rms filter algorithm. In filtering stage three filtering rules were used,
Range noise, 50 m 2.2 mm rms 0.8 mm rms 0.5 mm rms which are thin filter (distance = 0.001 m), range filter (Parame-
Range noise, 100 m 10 mm rms 3.3 mm rms 1.6 mm rms ter = from 0.5 m to 1 m) critical compensation. Finally, out of
road surface point cloud data was cleaned manually (Fig. 6).

Fig. 5. Registration screen of point cloud data.

M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293 287

Fig. 6. Noise filtering of road surface data.

2.3. Road surface model (RSM) generation and degradation analysis computer which has 32 core 2.6 GHz processor and 64 GB
Ram running with Windows 8 Enterprise and 64-bit operating
After cleaning of raw point cloud data, bare road surface point system.
cloud was obtained. At this stage average point to point distance Weather data was continuously recorded at the adjacent
was obtained as 0.004 m on the road surface. In accordance with weather station at the Green Roof Research Site located in Istanbul
the study goals, point cloud density is extremely high to process University Faculty of Forestry. Weather data was measured by an
and point to point distance is variable. Gridding is easiest solution automated weather station (DeltaOhm HD2003 Three axis Ultra-
to eliminate these factors. The choice of grid resolution is related sonic Anemometer, Delta OHM S.r.L., Padova/Italy, measurement
with the many different factors such as point density, spatial accuracy 1 C) and precipitation measurements were collected
accuracy of points, size of the area, processing power of computer, using a rain gauge (DeltaOhm HD 2003 tipping bucket,
preferred locational accuracy (specified in the technical agreement measurement accuracy 1%). Climate norms of Bahcekoy Sariyer
of the institution), geometry of point patterns, complexity of region between 1974 and 2004 (TMS Local) and climate norms of
terrain, cartographic standards, and gridding technique [30,31]. Istanbul between 1950 and 2015 (TMS Istanbul) were obtained
In order to prevent the data heterogeneity and ensure easy pro- from the Turkish State Meteorological Service National Weather
cessing, monthly collected TLS point cloud data were transformed Service.
to raster road surface model (RSM) at 0.01 m grid resolution. This
resolution is coarser than the input data density. Interpolation
techniques generally use the values at unsampled locations for 3. Results and discussion
estimation [32]. Therefore, interpolation was considered as super-
fluous for gridding in this research. At the stage of transform point 3.1. Results of elevation model
cloud data to raster RSM, minimum binning approach was
preferred in order to maximize spatial accuracy or minimize the Within the scope of the study, generation of surface model is
RMS error. the most important stage. Aruga et al. [33] studied with Airborne
After production of seven-month raster RSM, degradation LIDAR data based DEM for estimating low-volume forest road
data were generated for every two consecutive months. earthwork volume. They also suggested that, high-resolution
Degradation data generation procedure is a basic GIS analysis. DEM is useful in calculating accurate earthwork volumes. Akay
In two consecutive months, raster RSM data were subtracted and Sessions [34] emphasized that computer aided calculations
from each other and obtained data classified for desired scalar. with high resolution DEM potentially increase accuracy and perfor-
October 2015 RSM data was accepted as a starting point or base mance of road design. In this study, TLS-derived forest road surface
and six months degradation change data was produced with models (RSM) were generated for seven-month duration on the
this GIS procedure. All GIS analysis was performed by using monthly basis. 1 cm resolution raster RSM was obtained. Minimum
ArcGIS 10.0 GIS software. Raster calculator tool was used to Root mean square error (RSME) was obtained as 0.0015 m while
generate surface degradation data, and cut and fill volume tool maximum RSME was obtained as 0.008 m for each months in reg-
was used to generate volumetric degradation data. This entire istration and georeferencing stage. And also average RSME value is
processing and analysis works were conducted on workstation 0.0051 m. When our results compared with previously studies,
288 M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Fig. 7. TLS based derived RSM data.

M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293 289


Area (m2)


< -0.02 (-0.01) (-0.02) 0.00 (-0.01) 0.00 - 0.01 0.01 - 0.02 >0.02
Collapsing value Swelling value
November 2015-October 2015 (m2) December 2015 -November 2015 (m2)
January 2016-December 2015 (m2) February 2016 - January 2016 (m2)
March 2016 - February 2016 (m2) April 2016 - March 2016 (m2)

Fig. 8. Swelling and collapsing values of road surface.

accuracy of RSM (1 cm resolution) will be assessed as reliable and According to result of volumetric analysis of digital surface
sensitive for monitoring road. models, maximum net gain volume was calculated as 32.50 m3
According to DSM data, minimum z value was calculated as (73.70%) in JanuaryDecember, while net loss was calculated max-
173.972 m on February 2016, while maximum z value was calcu- imum 30.24 m3 (61.67%) in DecemberNovember (Figs. 10 and
lated as 227.172 m on December 2015 (Fig. 7). 11, Table 4).
Our results indicated similar sediment production and
3.2. Results of surface degradation degradation compared with those of former studies. Demir et al.
[35] state that the sediment mass can vary with the amount of
Areal calculation of comparison DSM results were listed in water moving through the road, or it can be exported indepen-
Table 3 and Fig. 8. Table 3 was divided to two rows as swelling dently of the surface runoff. On the other hand, Reid and Dunne
and collapsing for monitoring degradation. And also both swelling [36] reported that a heavily used road contributes 130 times as
and collapsing rows were showed in three different degradation much sediment as an abandoned or a paved road; along which
depths for perception of differences (<0.02; (0.01)(0.02); cut slopes and ditches as only sources of sediment, it yields less
(0.01)0.00; 0.000.01; 0.010.02; >0.02). than 1% as much sediment as a heavily used road with a gravel
According to total results of November to April DSM, maximum surface.
swelling value was calculated as 675.26 m2 at the depth of 0.00
0.01 m in AprilMarch. Minimum swelling value was calculated 3.4. Comparison of volumetric degradation depending on
as 71.59 m2 at depth of 0.010.02 m in JanuaryDecember. Also, meteorological results
maximum collapsing value was calculated as 646.13 m2 at the
depth of 0.00(0.01) meters in JanuaryDecember and minimum According to meteorological data minimum average tempera-
collapsing value was calculated as 108.95 m2 at depth of (0.01) ture was measured on January while maximum was measured
(0.02) meter in MarchFebruary (Figs. 8 and 9, Table 3). Maxi- on November. Maximum total precipitation was measured on Jan-
mum swelling and collapsing values are observed between 0.01 uary while minimum was on November (Table 5).
0.00 and 0.00(0.01) meters in six months. This study, observed to degradation and sediment production
from forest roads surface is related to total rainfall (Fig. 12 and
3.3. Results of volumetric degradation Table 5). Similarly, Luce and Black [37] reported that total rainfall
effects of time, traffic density, rut formation are important for sed-
In the study, volumetric comparison analysis of road surface iment production and degradation. Also, Ramos-Scharrn and
was performed by monthly. In this context net loss and net gain MacDonald [38] state that sediment production from unpaved
values between November 2015 and April 2016 were listed in roads was significantly related to total rainfall, road segment slope,
Table 4 and Fig. 9 depending on monthly degradation. and roads being graded or no graded.

Table 3
Comparison of swelling and collapsing areas of road surface.

Depth November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016February April 2016March
values (m) October 2015 (m2) November 2015 (m2) December 2015 (m2) January 2016 (m2) 2016 (m2) 2016 (m2)
Collapsing value
<0.02 279.52 123.25 332.00 163.93 108.95 144.47
(0.02) 199.95 151.71 298.72 183.69 161.21 117.13
(0.01) 376.22 389.51 646.13 615.17 731.75 547.77
Swelling value
0.000.01 385.73 497.14 292.95 550.73 476.70 675.26
0.010.02 218.56 263.32 71.59 114.75 107.80 139.91
>0.02 266.02 301.08 84.60 97.72 139.58 101.46
290 M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Fig. 9. Comparison of road surface (m).

Table 4
Result of net gain and net loss by monthly.

Months Net gain Net loss Unchanged

Volume (m3) Area (m2) Area (%) Volume (m3) Area (m2) Area (%) Volume (m3) Area (m2) Area (%)
November 2015October 2015 14.07 855.22 49.55 14.40 870.07 50.41 0 0.71 0.04
December 2015November 2015 8.07 660.68 38.28 30.24 1064.42 61.67 0 0.90 0.05
January 2016December 2015 32.50 1272.11 73.70 6.10 453.15 26.25 0 0.74 0.04
February 2016January 2016 11.81 961.28 55.69 7.96 763.29 44.22 0 1.43 0.08
March 2016February 2016 9.62 996.84 57.75 12.39 727.50 42.15 0 1.66 0.10
April 2016March 2016 13.22 808.90 46.87 9.60 915.40 53.04 0 1.70 0.10
M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293 291


Volume (m3)
-10.00 November - October - January - February - March - April -
-20.00 October November December January February March

Net Gain Net Loss

Fig. 10. Volumetric comparison by monthly.

Fig. 11. Volumetric analysis of road surface.

292 M. Akgul et al. / Measurement 103 (2017) 283293

Table 5
Meteorological data.

Year Months Mean temperature (C) Total precipitation (mm) Relative humidity (%)
2015 November 5 84.3 83.8
October 5 56.00 83.8
December 6 87.30 79.4
2016 January 3 130.10 82.8
February 6 63.40 79.9
March 5 35.60 77.6
April 6 40.60 75.6

Net Loss
Net Gain






November-October December-November January-December February-January March-February April-March

Fig. 12. Comparison of volumetric degradation with total perception.

4. Conclussion and suggestion tion areas. However, considering results and data precision of Ter-
restrial Laser Scanner is an effective method in monitoring
In this study, it is aimed to monitoring the forest road pavement pavement degradation.
degradation with Terrestrial Laser Scanner in winter season with
high precision. For this purpose, TLS measurements were com-
pleted between November 2015 and April 2016 by monthly.
It was observed that results obtained from areal comparison of
This paper is supported by the Scientific and Technological
DSM results, maximum swelling and collapsing values occurred on
Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) with the grant number
depth of (0.00)(0.01) and (0.00)(0.01) during between Novem-
ber 2015 and April 2016.
According to volumetric analysis of road surface data results,
volumetric degradation analysis will be used effectively with Ter- References
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