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A new approach for semi-automatic rock mass joints recognition from 3D point clouds

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Riquelme Adrián J., Abellán Antonio, Tomás Roberto, Jaboyedoff Michel,
Project Characterizing and analyzing 3D temporal slope evolution
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Computers and Geosciences
Volume (Issue) 68
Page(s) 38 - 52
Title of proceedings Computers and Geosciences
DOI 10.1016/j.cageo.2014.03.014


Rock mass characterization requires a deep geometric understanding of the discontinuity sets affecting rock exposures. Recent advances in Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) instrumentation currently allow quick and accurate 3D data acquisition, yielding on the development of new methodologies for the automatic characterization of rock mass discontinuities. This paper presents a methodology for the identification and analysis of flat surfaces outcropping in a rocky slope using the 3D data obtained with LiDAR. This method identifies and defines the algebraic equations of the different planes of the rock slope surface by applying an analysis based on a neighbouring points coplanarity test, finding principal orientations by Kernel Density Estimation and identifying clusters by the Density-Based Scan Algorithm with Noise. Different sources of information - synthetic and 3D scanned data - were employed, performing a complete sensitivity analysis of the parameters in order to identify the optimal value of the variables of the proposed method. In addition, raw source files and obtained results are freely provided in order to allow to a more straightforward method comparison aiming to a more reproducible research. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.