Why American Needs an Upgrade.
The infrastructure of the United States is in need of help. Of all the dam failures or near failures that have taken place in this country since 1874, a whole third of them happened in just the last decade, as dams built many years ago reach their expiration dates. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers has declared 4,095 of Americas dams to be unsafe. Our roads are also a mess. Almost a third of our highway deaths come about due to road hazards, obsolete sign designs, or other substandard conditions on the roads. Our bridges are in need of help, too, as about 25% of them are carrying more traffic then they were ever designed for, or are in need of some serious repairs.
Civil Engineering Services
What’s needed to update energy facilities, deal with flood control, improve roadway design, and update infrastructure are nontechnical design firms and civil engineers. Civil engineering is possibly the oldest of all types of engineering, and is concerned with building and maintaining all kinds of infrastructure and physical systems in a society. Civil engineers in the United States built one of our most amazing national constructions ever accomplished: the federal interstate highway system, which runs for 46,876 miles through all 50 states.
What is the First Step?
Civil engineering involves not only building infrastructure systems, but also the surveying that’s necessary before anything is done. Much of this is done through LiDAR surveying and photogrammetry. LiDAR surveying and photogrammetry are both types of aerial surveying technology, but they work in different ways. Surveying technology in general is used to give a more full and accurate picture of what’s happening in an extensive area than could ever be picked up from the ground alone.
How do LiDAR Surveying and Photogrammetry Work?
LiDAR, or Light Detection And Ranging, measures distance with lasers. LiDAR are now small enough to be mounted on drones, and they are able to penetrate some quite dense things to get a good overall picture of what things look like. Photogrammetry is technically the science of measuring based on photographs, but a better description is that it is a process where a series of 2D images can be translated into models that can be understood and analyzed in 3D. LiDAR surveying and photogrammetry both have their advantages and disadvantages, but when used together can give amazingly accurate pictures of large areas that need to be refurbished, repaired, or built up.
The Need is Urgent
A third of our roads are in poor condition, and the sewer systems are so old that estimates are 1.26 trillion gallons of sewage are spilled from them every year. By 2020, all of our ports are going to be handling at least twice as high a volume as they were designed to deal with. The EPA estimates that our national facilities for drinking water need massive investment–as much as $334.8 billion–within the next 20 years in order to make sure we all have access to safe and clean drinking water. These are serious issues issues of urban development that cannot be put off forever.
The United States is desperately in need of an infrastructure upgrade. These upgrades need to happen before it’s too late.