Road Construction Earthwork Volume Calculation Using Three-Dimensional Laser Scanning


Terrestrial laser-scanning (TLS) technology can be used to create a detailed model before and after construction to determine earthwork quantities. Cost-effective implementation of this technology requires that field operations are planned to efficiently acquire sufficient scan data and that data processing is able to filter out off-terrain points to provide an accurate bare earth model. This research developed a workflow for using TLS on road projects and created a customized computer program with a graphical user interface. Scans taken before and after construction were planned using the best available terrain model. Point cloud data were converted to station/offset coordinates for viewing cross-sections and generating the surface. An algorithm was developed, based on the finite element method, to create a surface through the lowest scan points. This surface was converted to a Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) file, and earthwork quantities were calculated by comparing the TIN of the original terrain to that of the finished project.


Technology and Construction Management

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Surveying Engineering