Analyzing deformation of buildings using LiDAR point clouds obtained by a Mobile Laser Scanning System

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Unequal deformation of the soil can cause deformation or damage to buildings, like tilted facades or cracks in walls. This research investigates how deformation of a building can be analyzed using Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data. Cyclomedia captures LiDAR data yearly in the Netherlands making it possible to analyze either one or multiple epochs of data. If deformation is monitored, failure can be predicted, and repairs can be performed in time.

A subsiding area is found using the Dutch surface motion map. The data points of a single building are fetched from the LiDAR point cloud to analyze the following types of deformation: a difference in the torsion and tilt angle of the facade between two epochs of data; the tilt angle of the facade for a single epoch of data; and local deformation patterns on the facade. The data is segmented before computing the angles and analyzing the local deformation patterns. During segmentation, points that do not correspond to the façade (like a sunshade or windows) are removed. After segmentation, the facade is modeled by fitting a plane using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The plane parameters (A, B, C, D) are used to determine the torsion and tilt angles. If the torsion or tilt angles are large (above a degree), it is expected the facade has deformed. Local deformation patterns can be analyzed by using a raster containing the distance of the segmented points with an accuracy of 8 centimeters. Besides the point clouds, Cyclomedia also captures 360° panoramic images (Cycloramas). These Cycloramas can be used to explain patterns that are visible in the rasters. For example, objects in front of the building like a bench or a sunshade.

This research uses Random Sample Consensus (RANSAC) to segment the data. From the results, it can be concluded RANSAC is not very predictable because random points are taken as input. So, points corresponding to the facade can be removed instead of points corresponding to windows or doors. Therefore, it is recommended to use another segmentation method for future research instead of RANSAC. Machine learning could be a good alternative to remove objects like windows and other unwanted points from the data.