Barbara E. Selby Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

January 30, 1991

(Phone: 703/557-5609) Dr. William Anderson Center for Mapping, Ohio State University, Columbus (Phone: 614/292-1600) RELEASE: 91-16 HIGHWAY MAPPING SYSTEM DEVELOPED BY NASA COMMERCIAL CENTER Unreported deteriorating road conditions are believed to cost the United States $16 billion a year in wasted fuel, excessive vehicle repairs and often time lost on the job. The Ohio State University's Center for Mapping, Columbus, one of 16 NASA Centers for the Commercial Development of Space (CCDS), has developed a system that will reduce the amount of time and money needed to gather information on highway conditions. After a pilot project is completed, it is expected that a private company will be created to commercialize the technology. Currently, the center is fine tuning a prototype vehicle filled with specially designed equipment that automatically can map and record transportation systems, including bridges, railways, grass-mowing areas, equipment locations and secondary roads. The system also will be helpful in locating roadways needing repair as well as other hazardous conditions, including the location of fatal accidents. What makes this system remarkable is the fact that it is the only one in the nation that uses both positioning data from the Defense Department's Navstar Global Positioning Satellite System

and images taken from a pair of video cameras mounted in a standard van. As the cameras scan the local terrain, the GPS receivers inside the vehicle record -- with an accuracy of plus or minus 1 to 5 meters -- the location's latitude and longitude. The positioning data is then processed, stored in digital format and eventually downloaded into computers used for geographic purposes, called Geographic Information Systems (GIS). - more -2The 18-month project, called the Global Positioning System for Transportation Planning, involves the Federal Highway Administration, 38 state transportation departments and the Canadian province of Alberta. Corporate sponsors include Trimble Navigation, Sunnyvale, Calif., which is donating two GPS receivers and COHU Camera Co., San Diego, Calif., which is supplying the system's digital video cameras. The states have contributed $565,000 to the project and NASA $280,000. Demonstration and performance evaluation projects have been

completed in New Orleans and in Albemarle County, Va., and are planned for Colorado, Ohio, Florida and along the West Coast. In addition to providing a visual record of transportation features, the system also is ideal for mapping. This application, alone, is expected to save highway departments a great deal of time and money because almost all government agencies that use maps are switching to electronic databases. However, digitizing data is expensive, time consuming and in some cases, the maps from which the information is taken are 40 years old. With the mobile unit, the digitizing already is done. The data can be entered into the database and converted into a format acceptable for processing in a GIS. The center also is involved in developing techniques for

using space technology to manage land and ocean resources, monitor natural changes, such as erosion, and help in disaster relief. - end EDITORS NOTE: A "NASA Aeronautics and Space Report" TV feature videotape on this subject is available free to media representatives by calling 202/453-8383.