Resul Çömert, Samed Özdemir, Burhan Baha Bilgilioglu, Selçuk Alemdag, Halil Ibrahim Zeybek

3D data integration for geo-located cave mapping based on unmanned aerial vehicle and terrestrial laser scanner data

Abstract The Akçakale cave is a significant natural and cultural heritage site in the Black Sea region of eastern Turkey. The complex geometry and difficult-to-access areas of the cave have made the use of traditional mapping methods challenging. To overcome these limitations, this study utilized TLS and UAV technology to produce highly accurate 2D and 3D data for cave management and risk assessment purposes. The TLS system was used to create a detailed 3D point cloud of the cave interior, while the UAV system generated a 3D model of the surface topography outside the cave. The two sets of data were combined in the GIS environment using a geodetic network established in the study area, providing a common geodetic reference system for both TLS and UAV data. The study found that the cave area is 13,750 m2, which is smaller than the area of 18,000 m2 that was previously estimated using conventional measurement methods. The volume and ceiling heights of the cave were calculated using the elevation models generated from TLS point cloud data. The 3D point cloud data were also used to map dripstone locations on the floor and ceiling of the cave, and the boundaries of rock blocks on the ground were precisely determined. The study identified potential risks associated with the cave, particularly the risk of rockfall in the source rock areas around the cave entrance and the southern part of the cave. The nearest building to the cave is approximately 35 meters away, and all the buildings in the area are less than 300 meters from the cave. In the event of the cave collapse, the buildings in the southern part of the cave are at risk of rockfall. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of combining data from TLS and UAV systems to generate broad and sensitive cave mapping and risk assessment data, which are critical for cave management and safety. The collected data can be used for cave stability investigations and rockfall risk assessments. This study provides a foundation for future explorations of the Akcakale cave and highlights the potential for modern surveying techniques to enhance our understanding of complex geological structures such as caves.


Keywords cave formations; TLS; UAV; rock fall; point cloud

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