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Advances in Civil Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 602364, 5 pages
Research Article

Handling Low-Density LiDAR Data: Calculating the Heights of Civil Constructions and the Accuracy Expected

Laboratorio de Topografía y Geomática, Departamento de Ingeniería y Morfología del Terreno, E.T.S.I. Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Profesor Aranguren s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 19 September 2012; Revised 12 December 2012; Accepted 18 December 2012

Academic Editor: John Mander

Copyright © 2012 Rubén Martínez Marín et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the last years, in many developed countries, administrations and private companies have devoted considerable amounts of money to obtain mapping data using airborne LiDAR. For many civil activities, we can take advantage of it, since those data are available with no cost. Some important questions arise: Are those data good enough to be used for determining the heights of the civil constructions with the accuracy we need in some civil work? What accuracy can we expect when using low-density LiDAR data (0.5 pts/m2)? In order to answer those questions, we have developed a specific methodology based on establishing a set of control points on the top of several constructions and calculating the elevation of each one using postprocessing GPS. Those results have been taken as correct values and the comparison between those values and the elevations obtained, assigning values to the control points by the interpolation of the LiDAR dataset, has been carried out. This paper shows the results obtained using low-density airborne LiDAR data and the accuracy obtained. Results have shown that LiDAR can be accurate enough (10–25 cm) to determine the height of civil constructions and apply those data in many civil engineering activities.