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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Locating Highway Attributes by Global Positioning
Project Researcher: Bob Lewis,
Project Manager: Daris Ormesher
Research Period: -
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:The locations of Mileage Reference markers on the states highway system are not well known. Errors in measurement and documentation have introduced inaccuracies in MRMs locations, typically of some fraction of a mile. Although these errors might seem small, they frustrate various inventory operations. For example, sign inventories can show signs in the wrong locations and in the wrong order because the signs were referenced to erroneously located MRMs. In at least one region, the sign inventory has been suspended until MRM errors are resolved.

The Department of Transportation also has a need to become familiar with Global Positioning System(GPS) technology. GPS technology is maturing, and promises to economically solve many problems associated with determining locations. One problem is referencing data over time. In a recent report "Historical Database Feasibility Study" it was emphasized that a (x,y,z) coordinate system is necessary to reference data over time, in other words, for historical data bases. Our current data base system consists of an Intergraph (CAD) system and a Roadway Environment System (RES).

Many DOT activities gather vast quantities of data or highway attributes rapidly. GPS provides an opportunity to provide very accurate location data along with other data attributes. Some of the activities that may benefit from GPS are engineering surveying, secondary roads, road profiler, non-state trunk road inventory, mapping and video logger. A pilot GPS study is needed to give the Department experience in GPS equipment and utilization of the data.


Research Objectives:
1  Identify various GPS systems available and their potential use within SDDOT.
2  Demonstrate how GPS technology can be used to locate MRM's and other highway attributes.
3  Demonstrate how GPS data can be utilized within our current data base system (RES and Intergraph).
4  Recommend changes to policies and procedures to allow use of GPS equipment within SDDOT.

Research Tasks:
1  Meet with the Technical Panel to review the work and scheduling.
2  Review and summarize relevant literature concerning GPS technology including equipment and its use within transportation agencies.
3  Contact all SDDOT Divisions and determine various requirements of each regarding potential use of GPS.
4  Provide recommendations of how GPS equipment and data could be used within our existing system for each Division.
5  Demonstrate use of GPS equipment in static and kinematic modes for engineering (land) surveying applications.
6  Demonstrate use of GPS equipment by gathering selected highway attribute data including MRM locations on U.S. HWY 12 in the Aberdeen region. HWY 12 is approximately 166 miles long in the Aberdeen region.
7  Use of data collected or show how data can be used into our current systems.
8  Provide recommendations for changes to policies, procedures and equipment (hardware and software) to allow use of GPS equipment within SDDOT.
9  Submit a final report summarizing the literature review, research methodology, findings, and conclusions.
10  Present findings and conclusions to SDDOT Research Review Board at conclusion of project.

Documents Available:

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