Asphalt Crack Detection, Infrared


Roads are major public assets. The USA spends billions of dollars each year on road construction and maintenance. To keep these roads in a healthy condition and for better planning and allocation of maintenance budgets, knowledge of distressed locations is needed. Roads develop cracks when they are subjected to stresses that exceed their designed criteria or their materials properties. Early detection and repair of cracks has proven to be the most cost-effective strategy in limiting the damage to roads and reducing expenditures. Various methodologies of crack detection were developed and significant techniques were made in the last few years. One of the most important recent technologies is the infrared thermography, which allows the use of infrared waves for crack detection. Another important technology is the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) which currently includes the GPS and GLONASS constellations. With the help of these systems, accurate location coordinates (longitude, latitude and altitude) up to a few centimeters were located. The objective of this research is to test the combined use of GNSS and infrared thermography in an automated system for the detection of asphalt cracks and their locations. To achieve this goal, two tests have been conducted. The first one, regarding the location tagging, was done using two pairs of GPS receivers which can detect signals from both GPS and GLONASS navigation systems in single and dual frequencies (L1 and L2). Different modes have been set to the receiver and comparison graphs were developed to compare accuracies against modes. The second test involves an infrared camera mounted on a car and moving in speeds approaching highway speed limit. The images obtained from the camera were processed using cracks detection software to analyze cracks properties (length, width, density and severity). It was found that the images that were taken by a moving infrared camera were recognized by crack detection software for moving speeds up to 50 mph. At speeds higher than 50 mph, images were blurred. As for location test, The GLONASS combined by GPS receivers got slightly better results than GPS only in both dual and single frequencies. The GLONASS satellites are not always available in view and when they are there, the number of satellites that can be detected by receiver range from one to three satellites at the most and for only a short period of time. It is recommended that future research be conducted to investigate the effect of using different camera lenses on the clarity of the images obtained as well as the effect of raising the camera level above the pavement surface in such a way that the whole lane width (12 ft.) would be covered in one image. Also the total reliance on GPS only receivers in determining cracks location has proven to be enough for this application.


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Graduation Date





Oloufa, Amr


Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)