Riegl and American Engineers, Inc. – Innovation Leaders

Riegl and American Engineers, Inc. – Innovation Leaders

Firm Background
American Engineers, Inc. (AEI) is a full-service, award-winning surveying and mapping firm established more than 35 years ago in Glasgow, Kentucky. They have grown to a staff of more than 100 serving clients throughout the Southeast and Midwest from offices in Glasgow, Louisville and Owensboro, Kentucky as well as Marietta, Georgia.

AEI is committed to staying ahead of the technology curve. Don Pedigo, PLS, Director of Geospatial Services explained, “We added LiDAR in 2013 to complement our traditional boundary, topographic, and land title survey capabilities. We pride ourselves on being technology experts and, at the time, LiDAR was the only tool missing from the AEI survey tool box. We are driven by what our clients need and LiDAR allows us to collect data faster, more safely in some situations, and with more accuracy, when needed. Surveying, 3D scanning, and utility locate services are the backbone of our geospatial services offerings.”

AEI offers more diverse surveying capabilities and services than other Small Business Administration (SBA) – classified small businesses their size. Don noted, “Our staff is proficient in the use of conventional survey methods and procedures involving robotic total stations, but we also operate our own unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned surface vehicle (USV), hydrographic/bathymetric remote-controlled boat, and use our Beechcraft Baron B-58 twin engine aircraft to mobilize the required staff and expertise quickly to serve any project. We have a tool that can fit our customers’ needs and when LiDAR is it, we can provide an accurate point cloud or linework extraction based off the point cloud collected with our RIEGL scanner.”

In addition to the Riegl VZ-400 3D laser scanner, AEI employs a variety of total stations, digital levels, GNSS receivers and data collectors. In terms of software, the company utilizes a wide array of packages including AutoCAD, MicroStation with InRoads, TopoDot, RiScan Pro, Carlson Office Software, Pix4D, Trimble Business Center Office Suite, and Hy-Pack Hydro Software.

Workflow Integration
RIEGL and AEI have similar histories and cultures. Both organizations have been honing their craft for more than 30 years, are compelled towards innovation, and are motivated to exceed customer expectations. Don noted, “We chose a RIEGL VZ-400 3D laser scanner because of the accuracy it provides, the ease and flexibility of collection methods, and its versatility to mount on a tripod as well as the Certainty 3D TopoLift.”

AEI is confident in the level of accuracy produced by the RIEGL scanner which translates from the surveyors to their engineers and ultimately to the quality of the designs they deliver. In addition, it is not uncommon for clients to ask for more data after the initial survey is finished. Since their RIEGL scanner captures complete documentation of the as-found conditions, AEI can be responsive to clients’ requests without having to send a survey crew back into the field.

AEI surveys are completed to support our in-house design services, work of other A/E firms, contractors, Federal and State agencies, utilities, and developers. Don explained, “We have the most experience with surveying for transportation projects, but we are exploring more Building Information Modeling (BIM) and point cloud integration applications to expand our capabilities in the Federal sector in particular.”

AEI has used the RIEGL VZ-400 for as built surveys; roadway, runway, and taxiway design; site design for commercial and industrial properties; quarry mapping; and crack monitoring, just to name a few applications.

Case Studies
Hidden River Cave, Horse Cave, Kentucky
AEI has considerable geotechnical experience with South Central Kentucky karst topography which is characterized by underground drainage systems with caves and sinkholes. AEI’s Hidden River Cave client in Horse Cave, Kentucky, had a quick-turnaround requirement for a significant amount of cave data to support future design projects. In response, AEI provided terrestrial laser scanning services, traversing deep into the cave to provide an accurate 3D point cloud model of the cave system. They used the RIEGL VZ-400 3D laser scanner in addition to a Trimble S6 Total Station and Trimble R10 GPS unit. The R10 was also used to stake out key points on the surface for potential drilling locations.

The survey provided an accurate and geo-located point cloud model so AEI’s structural staff could design a swinging bridge throughout the cave. The engineers and designers were provided with the point cloud along with a topo showing contours so they could access the data and make design recommendations based on the scan data. The project site was quite challenging–steep terrain, mud banks, massive and slippery rocks to climb over, and a river running through the cave. Surveyor safety is always a priority so the laser scanner was used to collect the data safely and meet the client’s expectations and deadline.

Distillery Tour, Central Kentucky
Another fascinating project recently completed by AEI was the interior of a 100-year-old bourbon distillery that was captured with the RIEGL VZ-400 in real-time with a 360° 3D scan. The structural engineers at AEI needed an accurate picture of the location of fermenter tanks, piping, brackets, and other potential obstructions in order to avoid conflicts. The point clouds created from the scan data fit the bill for their needs.

Looking Ahead
AEI’s markets include transportation (highways, streets, and airports), geotechnical, bridge and structural, site design, environmental, and geospatial. We provide the most commonly requested A/E services typically required on a design project including surveying. We look forward to continued growth in the marketplace and are always open to new possibilities.

AEI thrives on unique and challenging projects, we enjoy a challenge, and welcome any projects requiring terrestrial laser scanning.

Learn more about AEI and our projects by contacting Don Pedigo or using the links below to our website and social media:

Point of Contact:

Don Pedigo, PLS, Director of Geospatial Services
Email: dpedigo@aei.cc

Website: www.aei.cc
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/6969778/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanEngineersInc/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aei_engineers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/americanengineersinc/

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