Researchers can access Queensland roads and surrounding terrain data via QRIScloud

QCIF and the Queensland Government are collaborating on hosting and sharing a trove of high-quality data that represent more than 6,000 kilometres of state-controlled roads, road assets and surrounding terrain.

The Survey Technologies team within the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ (DTMR) Geospatial Technologies section has collected a vast array of 3D point cloud, predominantly using Mobile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Scanning (MLS) and Aerial LiDAR Scanning (ALS). A point cloud is a set of data points in space. In geographic information systems, point clouds are one of the sources used to make digital elevation models of terrain or used to generate 3D models of urban environments.

Stored on QCIF’s cloud computing service, QRIScloud, DTMR’s data collection is freely available for researchers to use.

As well as providing information for researchers looking at aspects of Queensland transportation, the data is also a valuable ecological resource. The LiDAR scanning has captured high-resolution landscape data suitable for ecological analysis. As one of the users of the data for this purpose, DTMR analysed the data for tree heights and road widths where roads passed through the habitats of sugar gliders to ensure the gliders could drop from tree to tree to cross roads.

Most data were captured in 2013–2014, but DTMR has been adding to the collection since then. “We originally used it for an oversize and over-mass project, being able to determine load sizes for specialist transportation needs, such as moving large machines and structures through regional infrastructure corridors,” said Tony Kirchner, Director of Geospatial Technologies at DTMR.

DTMR also use the data for designing new roads and transport infrastructure as well as asset management activities, such as identifying locations of light poles. “We see it as a good example of big data, and there are significant challenges in managing and generating results out of that type of data, purely because of its size,” said Mr Kirchner. “We placed it with QCIF because of the potential of running algorithms using research-grade HPC and the opportunity to develop new techniques for the classification of point cloud data.”

DTMR were early adopters of QRIScloud’s storage as they were facing a familiar problem: “We were generating huge files and they were sitting on disks in desk drawers,” said Mr Kirchner. “We collaborated with QCIF so that we could manage the data in one place and make it available to the research community at the same time.

“Managing these data assets on QRIScloud has been beneficial to DTMR from a data storage and data security perspective, but now we really want to ramp up the visibility of the data collection with QCIF to benefit Queensland researchers,” said Mr Kirchner.

Martin Tuckwood, the DTMR manager of the collection, can share the data directly with researchers using QRIScloud’s Nextcloud interface. For more details please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A point cloud derived from a terrestrial laser scan of the Tim Fischer Bridge, Bruce Highway near Wallaville. Colours represent intensity values collected by the scanner. (Image courtesy of DTMR.)