While manual inspections remain a required process, machine based collection allows for more rapid assessments as well as providing a quantitative snapshot of the runway state.
The result is both an initial assessment of the runway state and definitive measurements that allow the detection of runway change over time.
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For a runway, a GPS based guidance system is used to ensure accurate positional collection of multiple passes down a runway.
The precision Photometric based surface imaging system allows accurate mapping of cracks, even on grooved surfaces. The photometric images can also be stitched together to produce a high resolution (1 mm pixel size) map of the runway surface, showing both surface albedo and shape.
The laser data is stitched during post processing to form a precise 3D mesh of the surface. Due to the high precision IMU technology, the system is able to move beyond the accuracy of the reference station corrected GPS system, allowing very accurate local topography measures. This allows the production of measures such as long length rutting profiles (up to 15 meters in length), the calculation of Boeing roughness and groove closure.
In addition, if a degraded area is detected using the surface imaging technology, Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) can be used to further determine the cause of this issue, by detecting the layer depths and possible areas of moisture ingress into the pavement structure.