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Corps Surveys Texas Coast with LiDAR Technology

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District began implementing mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey data technology along the Texas coast in November. The software will survey dredging placement areas, assist with hydrographic surveys and collect data that will help analyze beach erosion.

Last year, the district contracted out technical services to perform data collection at 32 dredging placement areas at various locations along the Texas portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The data was used in the development of a dredged material management plan for the GIWW High Island to Brazos River Project.

“This survey data assisted us in determining the current topography and dredged material capacity of each placement area, including semi-confined and open water placement areas,” Dennis Thomas, a project manager with the USACE Galveston District, said. “It also helped to ensure adequate placement area capacity exists for future dredging activities.”

Rick Vera, USACE Galveston District geospatial manager added that staff tracked LiDAR data gathered at these placement areas using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and provided an estimate of available yardage for future dredging contracts.

“The challenge we’re faced with now is how to share this data between our computer-aided design and drafting and GIS environments without duplication,” Vera said. “To put it into perspective, we will soon have more LiDAR data than our current enterprise can store.”

While staff collects data, they will continue to work to resolve the knowledge management issue of making this data available to the public and partner agencies.

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