Optical sensor technology for dam security using LIDAR

Jordan Kirkendoll, Lindsey Sebastian Bryson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Light detection and ranging, commonly known as LIDAR, uses optical sensor technology to measure properties of scattered light to detect objects and obtain a range and bearing. Specifically, this technology enables the initial detection of a potential threat in a given field-of-view. After detection, the technology allows the user to distinguish an object as a threat or non-threat by producing an identifiable image. LIDAR also provides the user with the ability to perform a risk assessment based on the size and range of the threat from the potential target. These qualities of LIDAR make this technology applicable to dam security. This paper presents a summary of an analysis that evaluated LIDAR technology for the use of surveillance and assessment of potential water-side threats for dam applications. The study showed that the majority of traditional LIDAR technologies were unable to capture moving objects due to scanning speeds of the available devices. Another deficiency of the traditional LIDAR technology is it performs poorly in inclement weather. New emerging technology such as flash LIDAR has the capability to capture multiple images over a range of time thus allowing real-time tracking of moving objects. This new LIDAR technology is also purported to perform inherently better under conditions of poor visibility. In addition, flash LIDAR allows for three-dimensional rendering of images thereby better facilitating threat identification. The new emerging technology shows promise for inclusion in integrated surveillance systems.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 ASDSO Annual Conference on Dam Safety - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Sep 25 2011Sep 29 2011


Conference2011 ASDSO Annual Conference on Dam Safety
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington, DC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture


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