Transportation agencies in northern environments spend a considerable amount of their budget on salt for winter operations. For example, in the state of Indiana, there are approximately 140 salt storage facilities distributed throughout the state and the state expends between USD 30 M and USD 60 M on inventory and delivery each year. Historical techniques of relying on visual estimates of salt stockpiles can be inaccurate and do not scale well for managing the supply chain during the winter or planning for re-supply during summer months. This paper describes the implementation of a portable pole mounted LiDAR system that can be used to inventory a large barn in under 15 min and describes how this system has been deployed over 90 times at 30 facilities. A quick and easy accuracy test, based upon conservation of volume, was used to provide an independent check on the system performance by repositioning portions of the salt pile. Those tests indicated stockpile volumes can be estimated with an accuracy of approximately 0.1%. The paper concludes by discussing how this technology can be permanently installed near the roof for systematic monitoring throughout the year.
winter operations, salt, management, stockpile, weather, LiDAR