BrIM and UAS for bridge inspections and management

Yiye Xu (Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA)
Yelda Turkan (School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 29 November 2019



The purpose of this paper is to develop a novel and systematic framework for bridge inspection and management to improve the efficiency in current practice.


A new framework that implements camera-based unmanned aerial systems (UASs) with computer vision algorithms to collect and process inspection data, and Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM) to store and manage all related inspection information is proposed. An illustrative case study was performed using the proposed framework to test its feasibility and efficiency.


The test results of the proposed framework on an existing bridge verified that: high-resolution images captured by an UAS enable to visually identify different types of defects, and detect cracks automatically using computer vision algorithms, the use of BrIM enable assigning defect information on individual model elements, manage all bridge data in a single model across the bridge life cycle. The evaluation by bridge inspectors from 12 states across the USA demonstrated that all of the identified problems, except for being subjective, can be improved using the proposed framework.

Practical implications

The proposed framework enables to: collect and document accurate bridge inspection data, reduce the number of site visits and avoid data overload and facilitate a more efficient, cost-effective and safer bridge inspection process.


This paper contributes a novel and systematic framework for the collection and integration of inspection data for bridge inspection and management. The findings from the case study suggest that the proposed framework should help improve current bridge inspection and management practice. Furthermore, the difficulties experienced during the implementation are evaluated, which should be helpful for improving the efficiency and the degree of automation of the proposed framework further.



Xu, Y. and Turkan, Y. (2019), "BrIM and UAS for bridge inspections and management", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 785-807.

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