Research Projects

Stop the Video

Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2018 TOPIC AREA: Sustainability, energy, and health Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

Ultra-high-accuracy Digital Terrain Model Mapping for Assessing Roadway Vulnerability to Sea-level Rise and Flooding: An Integrated Analysis of Mobile and Airborne LiDAR Data

Project Summary

Funding source: US DOT
Funding amount: $19,988
Contract number: 69A3551747109
Start and end dates: September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019

Project description

The transportation network along the Hawaiian coastline is vulnerable to sea-level rise (SLR) and flooding. Digital terrain models (DTMs) are a major input for assessing the vulnerability of roadways. Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is widely recognized as the state-of-the-art DTM mapping technology for assessing SLR-induced inundation over relatively large areas. However, their point density is not high enough to capture the fine details of roadways such as curbs and surface water ponds. This project proposes to use mobile LiDAR data from a moving vehicle, in combination with airborne LiDAR data, to produce DTM of ultra-high accuracy for assessing the impacts of SLR and flooding. We will develop efficient algorithms and a methodological framework that can combine the strengths of both airborne and mobile LiDAR data to generate precise and detailed DTMs. The DTMs generated from the combined LiDAR data will be compared against the DTMs from only airborne LiDAR data to examine the benefits of introducing mobile LiDAR data in inundation analysis. A watershed-level DTM will also be generated by integrating DTMs from airborne LiDAR, mobile LiDAR, and photogrammetry, which can be used by hydrologists for simulating the impacts of flooding on roadway infrastructure. This pilot study will provide useful recommendations regarding how to use the state-of-the-art LiDAR technologies for assessing the risk of transportation network to SLR and flooding over coastal areas. 

Link to project data


Qi Chen
Office: Saunders 435
Department of Geography and EnvironmentHonolulu, HI 96822
United States
[email protected]