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Measurement 41 (2008) 823834



Close-range photogrammetry applications

in bridge measurement: Literature review
Ruinian Jiang a,*, David V. Jauregui b, Kenneth R. White b

New Mexico State University, Department of Engineering Technology and Surveying, EC III, Room 382, Box 30001,
MSC 3566, Las Cruces, NM 88003, United States
New Mexico State University, Department of Civil Engineering, Hernandez Hall, Box 30001, MS 3CE,
Las Cruces, NM 88003, United States
Received 24 August 2007; received in revised form 20 December 2007; accepted 27 December 2007
Available online 9 January 2008

Close-range photogrammetry has found many diverse applications in the elds of industry, biomechanics, chemistry, biology, archaeology, architecture, automotive, and aerospace, as well as accident reconstruction. Although close-range photogrammetry has not been as popular in bridge engineering as in other elds, the investigations that have been conducted
demonstrate the potential of this technique. The availability of inexpensive, o-the-shelf digital cameras and soft-copy, photogrammetry software systems has made close-range photogrammetry much more feasible and aordable for bridge engineering applications. To increase awareness of the use of this powerful non-contact, non-destructive technique in the
bridge engineering eld, this paper presents a literature review on the basic development of close-range photogrammetry
and briey describes previous work related to bridge deformation and geometry measurement; structural test monitoring;
and historic documentation. The major aspects of photogrammetry bridge measurement are covered starting from the late
1970s and include a description of measurement types, cameras, targets, network control, and software. It is shown that early
applications featured the use of metric cameras (specially designed for photogrammetry purposes), diuse targets (non-retroreective), stereoscopic photogrammetry network layout, and analog analytical tools, which transformed over time to the use
of non-metric cameras, retro-reective targets, highly convergent network layout, and digital computerized analytical tools.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Close-range; Photogrammetry; Bridge; Deformation; Monitoring; Geometry


Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Development of close-range photogrammetry . . .
Bridge deformation and geometry measurement .
Structural test monitoring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .







Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 505 646 1506; fax: +1 505 646 6049.
E-mail address: rjiang@nmsu.edu (R. Jiang).

0263-2241/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.









































R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

Applications for historical bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 832

Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 832
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 833

1. Introduction

2. Development of close-range photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is a technique for determining

the three-dimensional geometry (location, size, and
shape) of physical objects by measuring and analyzing their two-dimensional photographs. Generally,
photogrammetry is divided into two categories: aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry. In aerial photogrammetry, images are acquired via overhead shots
from an aircraft, providing topographic maps and
land use details. In terrestrial photogrammetry (also
called non-topographic photogrammetry), images
are acquired at locations near or on the surface of
the earth and provide detailed dimensional information of an object. When the object size and the camera-to-object distance are both less than 100 m
(330 ft), terrestrial photogrammetry is further
dened as close-range photogrammetry, an
approach where images are acquired around an
object with highly convergent camera orientations,
generally pointing towards the center of the object
[1]. Many successful and diverse applications of
close-range photogrammetry can be found in the
elds of industry, biomechanics, chemistry, biology,
archaeology, architecture, automotive and aerospace engineering, as well as accident reconstruction, to name a few [24]. Although close-range
photogrammetry has not been as popular in bridge
engineering as in other elds, many pioneering
applications in this eld, as described in this paper,
have illustrated the potential for growth. In addition, the rapid development of digital imaging and
computer technologies since the early 1990s has
made close-range photogrammetry much more feasible and aordable for bridge engineering applications. The availability of inexpensive, o-the-shelf
digital cameras and soft-copy, photogrammetry
software systems has made more bridge engineering
applications of close-range photogrammetry a possibility. To make engineers more aware of this powerful technique, this paper reviews the development
of close-range photogrammetry and applications in
bridge engineering including deformation and
geometry measurement; structural test monitoring;
and historic documentation.

The history of close-range photogrammetry

can be traced back to the late 1840s when the rst
photogrammetry system was developed by Aime
Laussedat, a colonel in the French Army Corps of
Engineers. In 1849, Laussedat rst utilized terrestrial
photographs to compile maps, and the approach was
ocially accepted by the Science Academy in
Madrid in 1862. Laussedat later made a plan of Paris
from photographs taken from building rooftops,
which was exhibited at the Paris Exposition in
1867. Due to his pioneering work, Laussedat is
widely recognized as the father of photogrammetry [57]. Another pioneer in the eld of close-range
photogrammetry is the Prussian architect, Meydenbauer. He recorded many historical monuments,
churches, and buildings with a close-range photogrammetry method based on Laussedats techniques.
In 1885, Meydenbauer established a state institute in
Berlin to record architectural buildings [5].
The pioneering accomplishments of Laussedat,
Meydenbauer, and many other photogrammetrists
led to the formation of the International Society
for Photogrammetry (ISP) in 1910, one of the most
important events in the history of photogrammetry
[5,7]. The technical commissions of the society
began work in specic areas of photogrammetry in
1926, including aerial, terrestrial, architectural,
and engineering photogrammetry [5]. Since then,
close-range photogrammetry was considered a
branch of terrestrial photogrammetry and was virtually ignored until the 1960s when photogrammetrists began to use inexpensive, non-customized
(o-the-shelf) cameras for image collection. By the
1970s, the use of close-range photogrammetry accelerated due to the rapid development in computer
technology and expanded at even a faster rate in
the 1990s as the digital era emerged.
According to Gruen [8], the history of closerange photogrammetry can be divided into four
eras. Era One extended from 1850 to 1984, and
established the foundation of the technology by
exploring basic systems. Theories developed during
this period include image processing algorithms;

R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

spatial network analysis methods; charge coupled

devices (CCD) for digital image recording; and least
squares image matching methods. Era Two covered
the years of 19841988, and focused on the development of early prototype systems including the calibration and application of CCD digital imaging
systems and high-speed data acquisition and processing methods. During this fast growing period,
the name of ISP Commission V was changed to
Close-Range Photogrammetry and Machine
Vision. Era Three extended from 1988 to 1992,
during which further acceptance and renement of
close-range photogrammetry occurred. Progress in
this period included fast growing and diversied
applications, and accelerated research and implementation. While fully automated systems continued to be explored, high accuracy close-range
photogrammetric measurements in a wide range of
applications had matured. Era Four (1992 present) is a period in which digital close-range photogrammetry has steadily developed. A good
example of this progress is in the eld of image sensors. During this period, high density, large format,
and small pixel chips have become available and it is
now technically possible to manufacture a CCD
chip containing 20,000  20,000 pixels with 5 lm
pixel size. O-the-shelf, consumer grade cameras,
such as the Kodak Pro SLR model, now provide a
resolution up to 14 million pixels at a relatively
low price [9,10]. In addition to image sensors, the
cost of other components of photogrammetric systems has also dropped signicantly; as a result, a
broader range of applications have become aordable for engineering purposes. Other advances in
this period include the development of fully digitized systems; automated data acquisition and processing via machine vision systems; and quick and
clear data interpretation.
As a summary of the application of close-range
photogrammetry in the eld of structural engineering, Mills and Barber [11] reviewed the state-ofthe-art of the technique in this eld and observed
the following:
 improved photogrammetry network design such
as multi-station convergent networks provides
better accuracy, precision, and reliability;
 camera self-calibration and analytical processing
techniques allow the use of non-metric cameras
and a simplied camera calibration process;
 more low cost software packages are available to


 development of internet technology has made online photogrammetric measurements possible;

 advances in digital techniques have eliminated
the inconvenient image digitalization process,
and have provided users a complete digital workow; and
 modern digital cameras and better analytical
tools provide more exibility and improved eciency for photogrammetric measurements.
Jauregui and White [12] summarized basic elements and system requirements for bridge engineering applications of close-range photogrammetry.
For a typical bridge measurement project, the basic
instruments include an o-the-shelf, medium to high
resolution digital camera (such as Kodak DCS and
Pro SLR series); 24 scale bars (to establish network
control); uniformly distributed articial and/or natural targets (more targets are preferable for higher
measurement accuracy); photogrammetry software
(such as PhotoModeler and Australis); and a total
station for control point measurement. Flash photography and retro-reective targets are generally
used for high-accuracy measurement.
It can be concluded that after more than one
hundred and fty years of development, close-range
photogrammetry has now entered a fully digitized
era where its uses are rapidly expanding. This technology possesses great potential in bridge engineering and it is being applied to an ever increasing
range of tasks which are reected by the examples
given in the following sections.
3. Bridge deformation and geometry measurement
The major aspects of bridge measurement applications are summarized in Table 1 which includes
types of measurement, cameras, targets, network
control, and software, covering the years from
1985 to 2003.
The early applications in this eld featured the use
of metric cameras (specially designed for photogrammetry purposes), diuse targets (non-retroreective), stereoscopic photogrammetry network
layout, and analog analytical tools, which transformed over time to the use of non-metric cameras,
retro-reective targets, highly convergent network
layout, and digital computerized analytical tools.
The applications given in Table 1 are reviewed in
order of date performed in the following paragraphs.
In 1985 the Virginia Highway and Transportation
Research Council sponsored a project on photo-


R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

Table 1
Application for bridge deformation and geometry measurements

Test object

Bales (1985)

Bales and Hilton Steel I
Steel girder
Kim (1989)

Type of

Target and type of


Camera used

Network control

Software used

Crack length and


Diuse targets,

Zeiss UMK 10/1318,

metric lm camera
(100 mm lens)

Control point


Diuse targets, non- Metric lm camera

ash photography (150 mm lens)

Control point


targets, ash
targets, ash
targets, ash
Diuse targets, nonash photography

Scale bars

Elcovision 10

Vertical deection
Thermal and dead
load deection

et al. (1990)


Cooper and
Forno et al.

Steel bridge Deformation

Arch bridge Deformation

Albert et al.

arch bridge
Leitch (2002)
Steel beam
Jauregui et al. P/C girder

Norris (2003)

Steel girder

Vertical deection

Vertical deection Diuse targets, nonGirder camber and ash photography

dead load
Live load
targets, ash

grammetric bridge evaluation including a condition

survey and vertical deection measurement [13,14].
In the rst study of the project, close-range photogrammetry was applied to evaluate bridge condition,
in particular, delaminations in a reinforced concrete
bridge deck; both the length and width of cracks were
recorded. In the second study, the vertical deection
of a steel I-beam was measured both by photogrammetry and dial gages and the average dierence
between the two measurements was found to be
1.0 mm (0.040 in.). In the third study, the thermal
and dead load deections of the steel girders of a light
rail bridge were measured. The bridge was a 3-span
continuous structure with a total length of 139 m
(464 ft); the length of the center span measured was
51 m (170 ft). The camera was positioned at three
locations under mid-span facing up at a distance of
about 10.8 m (36 ft) from the bottom of the girders.

Leica lm camera
(24 mm lens)

Zeiss UMK 10/1318

Control points
metric lm camera
(100 mm lens)
Zeiss UMK-10 N metric Control points
camera (2.1 m lens)


Kodak DCS660 digital

camera, machine vision
camera (24 mm lens)

between targets


Kodak DCS660 digital

camera (28 mm lens)

Control point


Imetric and Kodak

Control point
DCS660 digital cameras survey


The average dierence between photogrammetry

measurements and level readings was approximately
3 mm (0.12 in.), with a maximum value of about
9 mm (0.36 in.).
Kim [15] performed a long-term deformation
monitoring of a 526 m (1727 ft) long Wisconsin state
highway bridge via photogrammetry (see Fig. 1). The
project utilized a camera with a 150 mm (6 in.) lens,
and the distance separating the bridge and the camera was 122 m (400 ft). Images were recorded on conventional 230  230 mm (9  9 in.) lm and were
analyzed using a program developed specically for
the project. All the control points were set on the
north end of the bridge due to eld conditions and
as a result, the measurement accuracy worsened
moving from north to south. It was concluded that
the precision of the deformation measurement via
photogrammetry was within 14 mm (0.6 in.) in

R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834


Fig. 1. Camera stations and orientation [15].

diameter retro-reective circles, which were evenly

distributed along the cross section (see Fig. 2a).
Scale rods were used consisting of retro-reective
targets on aluminum angles, which were placed in
dierent directions in the object space to provide
uniform object scale in all directions. Photographs
were taken using a 24 mm (0.94 in.) wide-angle lens
camera along the conduit at two locations for each
section (see Fig. 2b). The accuracy was evaluated by
comparing the distances between points calculated

the length and height directions, and 30 mm

(1.2 in.) in the width direction, with a 95% condence
Abdel-Sayed et al. [16] reported the use of closerange photogrammetry for the deformation monitoring of soil-steel bridges. The main objectives of
the monitoring program were to determine the
cross-sectional shape of the metal conduit at certain
locations and to assess the deformations through
periodic monitoring. Targets were 6 mm (0.25 in.)

continuous or

Additional targets on
bolts at longitudinal

Optical axes are

convergent for two
camera positions


Targeted cross
structure in

Four or more targets

are recommended for
each multi-plate
section above
waterline or debris


Fig. 2. Soil bridge measurement: (a) target layout; (b) camera placement [16].


R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

by photogrammetry and obtained by direct measurements. For a structure having a span of approximately 4 m (12 ft), the mean dierence of distances
ranged from 2 to 7 mm (0.080 to 0.276 in.) for crosssections having the scaling devices, and from 30 to
80 mm (1.183.15 in.) for cross-sections without
the scaling devices. The mean dierence of distances
in the longitudinal direction ranged from 20 to
40 mm (0.7871.575 in.).
The City University of London monitored the
deformation of a military steel bridge [17]. The measurements focused on an 18 m (59 ft) bridge section
using seven camera stations, as shown in Fig. 3. A
total of 768 measurements of target coordinates
were made, the maximum standard deviations of
which were found to be 0.39 mm (0.015 in.),
0.62 mm (0.024 in.), and 0.23 mm (0.009 in.) in
the x, y, and z direction (see Fig. 3), respectively.
Forno et al. [18] reported the studies performed at
the University of Dundee in Scotland on the deformation measurement of a decommissioned masonry
arch bridge and a full-scale laboratory model of the
bridge. The bridge had a single closed-spandrel arch
with a 4 m (13.2 ft) diameter and overall dimensions
of 6 m  4 m  6 m (20 ft  13 ft  20 ft, length 
height  width). The bridge was tested under a concentrated load applied at the top of the spandrel.
Both Moire photography and close-range photogrammetry were applied to measure the deformation
of the bridge. Moire photography results provided
control for the photogrammetric measurements since
scale bars appeared too dark in the photos to serve as
an accurate reference. The standard deviation of the
photogrammetric measurement was approximately
0.2 mm or 0.008 in.
Bauhaus University and Dresden University of
Technology (both in Germany) performed studies

on the deformation measurement of a laboratory

beam and a eld bridge using a single camera setup
[19]. The basic principle employed is shown in
Fig. 4; that is, if the camera image and the object
planes are parallel, the actual dimension of an
object will be directly proportional to that measured
in the image. Given the deformation in the image
plane (Dx and Dy), the deformation of the actual
object (DX and DY) can be calculated by the following equations:
DX b  Dx; DY b  Dy
where b is the scale factor which can be determined
via control points or scale bars.
In the laboratory study, the deection of a 2 m
(6.6 ft) concrete beam was measured. Nine retroreective circular targets with a diameter of 14 mm
(0.55 in.) were placed towards the bottom of the
beam for measuring the deection at those locations
(see Fig. 5a). Natural targets, such as natural
patches on concrete surfaces, were also identied
in order to evaluate the accuracy of such targets.
Conventional displacement sensors were placed at
three locations to check the photogrammetric measurements. A measurement precision of approximately 0.01 mm (0.0004 in.) was achieved with a

Object Plane


x y Image Plane

Projection Center

Fig. 4. Single-camera deformation measurement [19].

Y (m)
Pin Joint






Fig. 3. Layout of the camera positions [17].


X (m)

R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834


Fig. 5. Photogrammetry deection measurement: (a) beam; (b) eld bridge [19].

Kodak DCS660 camera and 0.04 mm (0.0016 in.)

with a machine vision camera. The largest dierence
found between the photogrammetric and the displacement sensor measurements was approximately
0.1 mm (0.004 in.). In the eld study, the vertical
deection of an unreinforced concrete arch bridge
located in Erfurt, Germany was measured. The
bridge was built in 1900 and has a single span,
27 m (89 ft) long and 12.5 m (41 ft) wide (see
Fig. 5b). In order to verify the restoration plan of
the bridge, a load test was performed to determine
its safe load capacity and close-range photogrammetry was chosen to measure the deformation of
the bridge under the applied load. A 1300  1030
pixel machine vision camera was placed on the west
bank of the river, approximately 32 m (105 ft) from
the bridge. This distance provided a horizontal eld
of view of 32.5 m (107 ft), so a single image could
cover the whole bridge. Fig. 5b shows a sample
image of the arch bridge taken by the machine
vision camera. The vertical deformation was visualized online in time-deection diagrams. Nine induc-

tive length gages were placed on a trestle installed

underneath the bridge to check the photogrammetric measurements. The photogrammetric targets
were 100 mm (3.94 in.) diameter white circles placed
on a black background. The maximum vertical
deection of the bridge measured was approximately 2 mm (0.079 in.), and a standard deviation
of 0.10.2 mm (0.0040.008 in.) was found between
the photogrammetric and gage measurements.
New Mexico State University (NMSU) conducted
a comprehensive study on bridge deection measurement using close-range photogrammetry [20,21].
Studies were performed on a laboratory steel beam
and on two eld bridges. The rst bridge tested was
a single-span, prestressed concrete bridge; the second
was a 7-span, simple-supported steel girder bridge.
In the laboratory study, a 12.2 m (40 ft) long
W21  62 steel beam was loaded at mid-span by a
concentrated load in weak axis bending. Twentyone double-sided targets were evenly placed on the
top of the beam. Images were acquired around
the beam and deections measured by close-range


R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

photogrammetry were compared with those read

from dial gages; dierences in the measurements
ranged from 0.51 mm (0.02 in.) to 1.27 mm (0.05 in.).
In the rst eld test, the girder camber of a prestressed concrete bridge located in Las Cruces, New
Mexico was measured, including the initial camber
of the girders before loading and the nal camber
after placement of the reinforced concrete deck slab
and trac barriers. The bridge has a single 32.2 m
(105 ft) long, 18 skewed span with ve prestressed
BT-1600 bulb-tee girders. A total of fourteen control
targets were placed on the abutments and retaining
walls at both ends of the bridge. Photos were taken
from the east side of the bridge and also underneath
the girders; the average camera-to-object distance
was about 18.3 m (60 ft). Photogrammetric measurements of the initial camber were compared with level
rod readings; the maximum deviation of the two
measurements was within 17 mm (0.67 in.) for four
of the girders, and 28 mm (1.1 in.) for the remaining
girder. The maximum initial camber occurred at the
mid-span of girder 2 with a value of about 140 mm
(5.5 in.). Dead load deections under the deck and
barrier weight measured by photogrammetry were
then compared with the design estimates (i.e., the
dead load deection diagram); the dierences varied
from 2.9 mm (0.11 in.) to 5.4 mm (0.21 in.) for all the
girders. The maximum dead load deection turned
out to be approximately 35 mm (1.38 in.). For
the nal girder camber, a comparison was made with
total station measurements. For the 15 girder locations, the average absolute dierence was 2.95 mm
(0.116 in.), with a range between 6.40 mm
(0.252 in.) and +4.27 mm (0.168 in.).
The second eld test study was conducted on a
non-composite, steel girder bridge built in 1937
and located in the vicinity of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The bridge has seven simple-supported spans, one of which was tested
under truck loading. The tested span consisted of
six 14.9 m (49 ft) long CB30  116 girders (similar
to a W30  116). Double-sided photogrammetric
targets were used both for control and tie purposes.
The photogrammetric measurement results were
compared to those obtained from nite element
analysis, level rod readings, and curvature-based
measurements derived from strain gages. With a
maximum deection of about 8 mm (0.31 in.), the
dierences in deection measurements from photogrammetry, curvature, and the level rod were within
0.51.5 mm (0.020.06 in.) for all girders at midspan.

Sewall Company applied digital close-range photogrammetry to measure the geometry of the 622 m
(2040 ft) long Waldo-Hancock Cable Suspension
Bridge between Prospect and Verona, Maine [22].
The bridge was built in 1931 and had shown serious
deterioration both in its superstructure and deck
[23]. The bridge dimensions measured by photogrammetry were used in the rehabilitation planning
of the bridge. Control points were placed at the
approaches to the bridge and surveyed using a total
station, along with real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS
methods. Images were acquired from a helicopter.
From photogrammetric analysis, Sewall provided
information on bridge and cable geometry for further structural analysis. The measurements included
the elevation and oset of cables, trusses, piers, the
main tower, and cable bents. The accuracy of measurement for critical dimensions of the bridge was
comparable to that of a conventional survey. The
standard deviation of the photogrammetric measurements was 3 mm (0.12 in.) over a length of
213 m (700 ft) of a bridge section, and 15.9 mm
(0.625 in.) over the total length of the bridge [23].
Compared to traditional surveying methods, closerange photogrammetry proved to be more ecient.
Measurements accomplished in less than three days
in the eld would have taken 10 days for a conventional survey, and images were acquired without
physically accessing each measurement point. The
whole process was non-intrusive, and only created
minimal impact on trac ow.
It is observed from the above examples that
close-range photogrammetry provides a very convenient way for bridge deformation monitoring and
geometry measurement. The accuracy of close-range
photogrammetry is sucient for most bridge engineering applications and the implementation may
prove to be easier and more cost-eective compared
to traditional methods.
4. Structural test monitoring
Frequently, components of a bridge are tested
instead of the whole bridge due to the limitations
of cost, time, and other experimental constraints.
There have been many tests conducted on bridge
elements such as beams and columns where photogrammetry was used to monitor deformation, a
few examples of which are given in this section.
Scott [24] performed a study on photogrammetric deection monitoring of a multiple box, curved
girder bridge to detect the buckling load of the

R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

compression ange and to explore the ultimate failure mechanism of the model bridge. Photos were
captured at 27 camera stations along both sides of
the bridge. A total of about 4000 targets were placed
on the bottom ange, and 1800 images were used in
the image processing with an analog stereoscope.
Compared to dial gage results, an accuracy of
0.2 mm (0.008 in.) was achieved by the photogrammetric deection measurement.
Woodhouse et al. [25] conducted several high
strength, concrete column tests. The aim of the tests
was to determine the inuence of steel hoop reinforcement on the failure of the columns. Column
deection was monitored during the tests by closerange photogrammetry. Linear variable displacement transducers (LVDT) were used to measure
deformation of the column for comparison. Four
digital cameras were used, two of which had a resolution of 1534  1024 pixels and the other two,
1008  1018 pixels. A vision metrology system was
used which was controlled remotely in such a way
that images were captured automatically and synchronously by the four cameras.
Fraser and Riedel [26] performed a study on the
monitoring of thermal deformations of steel beams.
The temperature variation of the steel beams ranged
from 1100 C down to 50 C, and the measurement
rate was one set every 15 s. In order to collect
approximately 7080 sets of measurements in about
2 h, a highly automated, on-line data processing system was used. Two groups of targets were utilized.
Group 1 had about 10 to 15 targets, and was used
to monitor the deformation of the beam; group 2
had about 30 targets that were placed on the wall
behind the beams and stayed stationary during the
entire test, serving as reference points. The average


camera-to-object distance for the outer cameras

was 9.6 m (31.7 ft), and 6.7 m (22.1 ft) for the center
camera. An Australis system was used for the oline photogrammetric analysis, which was modied
for the on-line process of real time measurement.
The coordinate changes of the targets on the steel
beam were recorded continuously over time. The
nal RMS value of coordinate residuals in approximately 800 point measurements averaged 1.6 lm
(close to 0.2 pixels), which yielded an accuracy in
the object space of 0.71.3 mm (0.030.05 in.).
The Civil Engineering Department at Curtin University of Technology in Australia performed a series
of laboratory studies on concrete beam deformation
measurement [27]. The beams were taken from a dismantled bridge in Western Australia, and included
inverted U-shaped reinforced concrete and rectangular prestressed concrete beams. The beams were simple-supported at both ends, and destructive loading
tests were performed to evaluate their ultimate
strength. The layout of the test is shown in Fig. 6a.
Two 8 mm-lens video cameras were placed at two
locations with a convergence angle of about 47
(see Fig. 6a), with an image size of 768  574 pixels.
The two cameras remained stationary throughout
the test and were self-calibrated using the test images.
The photogrammetry analytical software Australis
(Version 5.02) was used for both camera self-calibration and target coordinate calculations. Load-deection diagrams were obtained for three prestressed
concrete beams, as shown in Fig. 6b.
The deection measured with LVDTs was used
to check those obtained by photogrammetry. The
authors stated that an obvious disadvantage of conventional instruments such as LVDTs is its limited
measurement range of only 25 mm or 0.98 in. (the

Fig. 6. Bridge beam test: (a) network layout; (b) load vs. deection [27].


R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

elastic range); beyond this range, the measurement

accuracy drops quickly. In contrast, close-range
photogrammetry provided measurements over the
entire deformation range (see Fig. 6b). Another difference between traditional gages and photogrammetry is that the latter can measure 3-dimensional
displacement, while the former measures deection
in only one direction. Shear strength tests were also
performed on the inverted U-shaped ber-reinforced concrete beams. Load-deection diagrams
and 3D displacement proles were also obtained
for these U-shaped beams. The mean measurement
precision obtained by photogrammetry determined
from 25 group point coordinates was 0.27,
0.54, and 0.24 in the x, y, and z direction (see
Fig. 6a), respectively. A curb section inverted Ushaped beam with an asymmetric cross-section
was also tested; the torsion of the beam was
recorded by photogrammetry. Close-range photogrammetry was found to provide an eective way
to measure torsional displacements that are otherwise very dicult to measure conventionally.
Hegger et al. [28] reported a test on pre- and
post-cracking shear behavior of prestressed concrete
beams using laser-interferometry and close-range
photogrammetry. Laser-interferometry was used to
measure the pre-cracking behavior, while closerange photogrammetry was applied to measure the
post-cracking shear behavior. The beam web was
marked with black measuring dots at a spacing of
25 mm (0.98 in.) for photogrammetry measurement.
Photos were taken at nine stations from two elevations around the marked area for each loading step.
Calibrated rods were placed at the top and bottom
of the beam for setting scale. The accuracy of the
3D coordinates of the measured points was
0.02 mm (0.0008 in.), which accurately determined
the crack locations and openings. From the measurement of cracks and monitoring their development, the shear transferred across the cracks by
shear friction was estimated.
5. Applications for historical bridges
This section reviews applications of close-range
photogrammetry for historic bridge restoration
and monitoring. Examples of architectural photogrammetry that focus on historic building documentations are not included here. The reader is referred
to Dallas [4] for that information.
Spero [29] conducted a study on the applicability
and accuracy of close-range photogrammetry in the

documentation of historic bridges and other transportation structures. Dierent structure types such
as concrete arches, steel trusses, and brick and wood
beams were chosen for documentation, and a wide
range of eld conditions were selected to test the
feasibility of close-range photogrammetry. A Zeiss
UMK 10/1318 metric camera with a focal length
of 99 mm (3.90 in.) was used to acquire images. Targets were installed around the object and the distances between targets were hand measured to set
up the reference. In addition to the creation of
drawings, the potential of photogrammetry for the
measurement of cross-sectional areas and the thickness of structural members was also explored and
checked with hand measurements. The dierences
between photogrammetry and hand measurement
were found to be very small. In one example, the difference for 18 point measurements was less than
3.18 mm (1/8 in.).
Shigenori et al. [30] reported a project in which
photogrammetric information and geographic
information system (GIS) models were used to
develop an integrated design and management system for a historical bridge restoration in Japan.
The bridge (designated the Nishida Bridge) had four
arch spans, and was made of natural stone blocks.
The integrated system consisted of photogrammetry, coordinate management, photograph management, and 3D visualization sub-systems. A model
of the bridge was established from old photos taken
in the 1870s using single photograph analytical techniques, and veried in the eld. The arc shape of the
bridge (160 m or 528 ft long) was calculated by
dividing the entire arc into 88 elements. A multiwindow system was applied to transform photographs into AutoCAD drawings; by moving a
cursor to a calculated point on an old photograph
in one computer screen, the analytical result could
be veried easily in the AutoCAD drawing displayed in another monitor. A total of 31 points were
measured on the bridge surface photogrammetrically, and the radius of arcs and co-ordinates of these
points were calculated. Photogrammetry was also
used to exhibit bridge information on material and
mechanics properties, construction technology, restoration design, bridge history, and restoration construction documentation.
6. Conclusions
Close-range photogrammetry is a technique that
has many unique advantages, a few of which are

R. Jiang et al. / Measurement 41 (2008) 823834

(1) it is a non-contact technique that is capable of

measuring dicult-to-access structures; (2) it is less
labor-intensive; (3) it records a large amount of geometric information in a short time period by acquiring images; (4) it allows revisiting the visual records
and performing additional analysis at a later time;
and (5) it can be used as a convenient tool for routine
measurement applications. With the rapid development of computer technology and digitized image
recording and processing systems, close-range photogrammetry has entered a fully digitalized era with
great potential for bridge engineering applications.
There have been several successful examples in the
eld of bridge deformation measurement and monitoring, most of which reached an order of accuracy
of about 1 mm (0.04 in.). For bridge geometry measurement, the eld work has been found to be
reduced by more than 50% while maintaining the
same level of accuracy compared to conventional
surveying methods. Close-range photogrammetry
has been found very useful in test monitoring due
to its capability of measuring 3D deformation and
behavior up to the failure of bridge elements, which
make it very useful in torsion, shear, axial, and bending experiments. Close-range photogrammetry has
also been found in historic bridge documentation
and rehabilitation. It is concluded that close-range
photogrammetry is a powerful measurement technique that can provide unique solutions for broad
and diverse bridge engineering applications.
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