Surface Systems & Instruments, Inc.

Mobile Surveying Systems

Create 3D Surfaces for machine control applications as well as profile data.

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Features & Benefits


Rapid 2D/3D Surface Scanning

The SSI Survey-Profiler uses a patented process to combine tightly sampled longitudinal and transverse profile data (from the inertial profiler instrumentation), cross-slope data (generated by vehicle dynamics measuring IMU sensor) and post-processed RTK corrected GPS content (or merger of total stations control points).  The result is an unmatched ability to quickly survey road or airfield pavement areas and generate high resolution 2D relative surface scans or 3D topographies.  SSI’s Survey Profilers are proven to generate surfaces with greater accuracy than competing systems or conventional surveying methods.  Standard CAD, Lidar and survey data formats are supported.


Modular Design

SSI hardware platforms use a set of small, portable core data collection components.  The instrumentation consists of SSI’s industry leading inertial profiling system modules, an embedded tactical grade IMU sensor for highly accurate vehicle dynamics tracking, and state-of-the-art OEM GPS components.  For 3D applications, the survey vehicle’s embedded GPS board can be paired with common models of customer owned base stations.  For 2D surface scans or ride quality testing for QC/QA applications, a base station is not used.  Customized mount attachment hardware is designed and supplied by SSI.  The modular design allows for rapid response support, as all key components are field replaceable, “plug-and-play,” and express shippable.


Installation and Training at Your Place

SSI’s Survey-Profilers are a worry-free, turnkey solution.  Our technicians assist with on-site installation of the hardware onto the customer’s vehicle.  Operator training, equipment certification and first-project utilization can also be staffed by SSI technicians.  


Easy, Innovative Software

The Survey-Profiler systems are supplied with SSI’s Profiler 3 software with simple routines for system setup, calibration, data collection (both survey and ride quality), data analysis, and reporting.  The Survey-Profiler software runs on a Windows operating system installed on a Panasonic Toughbook rugged computer with a solid state hard drive and touchscreen controls.  The calibration and data collection routines are easy and computer instructed.  Raw data streams on-screen and is backed up in real time during data collection.  Both survey and ride quality data are available simultaneously in the same data file for analysis. Quickly generate smoothness reports or surface scan results from the same Profiler 3 software program.


Surface Designs for Smoothness & Variable Depth Machine Control

After raw surface data is collected, use SSI’s Profile Design module to enter configurable parameters (target cross-slope, min/max cut-fill thresholds) and generate a surface design optimized for smoothness.  The design data can then be exported to formats compatible with third party machine control solutions for variable depth milling, paving or diamond grinding.  Fine grain 3D surface topographies can be output in conventional survey formats (PNEZD, LAS, PLLHD, GPGGA) at a user specified interval down to 1 inch.  Use the SSI CAD module to add control data to tighten survey elevation accuracy on longer data collections to near total stations accuracy.   The exported survey data can be used in third party CAD applications for 3D site preparation and machine control.  Repeat surveys can be quickly undertaken with the Survey-Profile systems to monitor progress of the project surface throughout construction to completion.


Wide Footprint Lasers = Higher Resolution Scanning

The SSI Survey-Profile systems are equipped with sophisticated wide-footprint lasers for most accurate measurements on all types of pavement textures (coarse textured asphalt, grooved or tyned concrete, etc.). On surfaces with aggressive textures, more accurate profile and survey data is derived from wide-footprint lasers (versus the outdated single point, or “spot” lasers).  SSI’s Survey-Profile systems use various models of the wide beam “Gocator” lasers manufactured by industry leader LMI Technologies.  The Gocator lasers have a sampling frequency of 5 KHz and offer footprints ranging from 260 points (across 4”/100mm) to an ultra-wide configuration with 1280 points (across 2.3ft/0.7M).  As a result, the highest resolution CS9500 system with 6 ultra-wide lasers outputs a full lane width transverse profile with 0.5” point spacing across 14 ft (4.2M), with each profile generated every 1-3” (25.4 -76.2 mm) longitudinally (depending on the speed of the collection vehicle).


Proof of Performance


Proven 2D Profile Repeatability & Accuracy

SSI’s inertial profiling system performs with industry leading repeatability and accuracy, as proven by independent agency certifications worldwide and U.S. Federal Highway Administration research.  Contact SSI for copies of certifications and research reports.  The SSI system is a Class I longitudinal profiling device under ASTM E950) and is guaranteed to comply with industry specifications, including US State DOT, Ministries of Transportation, and AASHTO M328, R054, R056-R057.  For pavement resurfacing (e.g. mill and overlay), SSI’s 2D surface scanning system adds accurate cross-slopes to the profile data by use of a tactical grade inertial measurement sensor (IMU) that precisely tracking the host vehicle’s movement in all directions.  Once the vehicle dynamics are eliminated, a precise pavement profile with highly accurate cross-slope is generated and ready for use in pavement design and machine control applications. 


Mobile 3D Surveying – Dense and Accurate

The accuracy of the topography data from the SSI Survey-Profile system has been proven by comparisons of repeat same surface measurement with data from conventional survey instruments.  For best elevation accuracy, SSI’s CAD software supports adjustment of the 3D surface data by merging in control points at various intervals along or across the surface.  The Survey-Profiler is capable of generating a more repeatable and denser surface topography in a fraction of the time required by conventional land surveying methods.  SSI and our customers have compared numerous surfaces collected by the Survey-Profiler versus data from survey instruments (total stations and corrected GPS).  Repeat collections with the Survey-Profiler typically compare with the reference data to within 0.01-0.05 feet at any point along or across the surface.  Predictably, the quality of the data comparisons is affected by the nature of the test surface (significant curvature or short wavelength changes in grade affect accuracy) and the manner of operation of the Survey-Profiler(inexact calibrations, GPS variability or faster speeds can degrade the accuracy of the surface topography).  Where variability exists, merger of control data is helpful; or multiple data collections along same surface can be merged together to improve the quality of the output file for the measured surface.





Mount Hardware

Professionally engineered mount hardware for attaching profiling system to front, rear or mid-point of many standard vehicles. Portable systems attach to standard 2 inch (5.08cm) square receiver tube and operate from host vehicle’s 12V power supply.


Flexible DMI Hardware 

Hardware supplied for attachment of high resolution distance measurement interface to rear wheel of host vehicle. Dedicated lug-extenders or flexible wheel collets supplied.


Sensor Adjustment

Dove-tail hardware supplied for horizontal and vertical adjustment of laser / accelerometer sensor modules.


Adaptor Hardware

Custom hardware design and fabrication available for profiling system attachment onto customer specified vehicle (front, rear, or mid-vehicle mount--not all vehicles supported).


In-Vehicle Workstation 

Pedestal mount system and power supply for operator computer. Alternate suitcase enclosure available with internal power supply and direct connection to profiling system.





SSI Profiler Software Suite

Comprehensive software routines for calibration, collection, analysis, reporting, and repeat run comparison/verification. On-screen instructions for system calibration and data collection. All software fully integrated with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and prior supported versions. Software licenses supplied for use on profiling device and desktop computers. Free license for agency and academic users.


Adjustable Parameters

Encrypted raw profile data is infinitely rewritable with different analysis parameters as selected by the user. All data parameters required by agency specifications are supported.


Real Time Display

Real time display of longitudinal stations (chainage) and vehicle speed (in English or Metric), profile traces, and GPS position during data collection.


Multiple Data Collection Triggers 

3 data collection triggers: (i) SSI Reverse Direction Trigger (proprietary procedure that collects exact stations without pre-marking test sections), (ii) Electric Eye, and (iii) On-the-Fly.


Event Marking

Entry of location notes by electric eye or push button, with post-collection text entry by operator. •Urban Area Data Collection: SSI Continuous Collection feature suspends collection of profile data at speeds less than 5 mph (8 kph), records position, and resumes collection when system resumes above 5 mph (8 kph).


Pause Data Collection with Data Retained

System pauses data collection manually or with electric eye trigger. Data from paused sections retained for reporting separately or combined with non-paused areas.


Multiple Profile Indexes

Profile data reported in user selectable indexes: International Roughness Index (IRI, segmented or continuous), Mean IRI (MRI), Half Car Ride Index (HRI) and Ride Number (RN).


Localized Roughness

Multiple outputs of localized roughness supported: profilograph must grind bump/dip template, IRI thresholds, and Texas 1001-S. Dimensions of localized roughness calculated by length of defect and location of peak amplitude.


Variable Filtering

User selectable filtering parameters as required by specifications (e.g. high and low pass filters). •Single Track Systems Generates Dual Track Reports: Patented functionality of single sensor systems to report dual wheel tracks (separately collected in either direction).


Data Formats

Outputs numerous useful or required formats: PNEZD, PLLHD, GPGGA, PDF, ERD and PPF (compatible with ProVal), PRO, Excel (CSV or auto-populated in templates supplied by SSI), raw unfiltered profile, and ProScan.



Core Internal Profiling System


SSI’s mobile surveying systems have as their foundation an ASTM/AASHTO/DOT compliant inertial profiling system.  The core inertial profiler instrumentation uses lasers, accelerometers, and a high resolution optical encoder to measure a DOT certifiable longitudinal point-to-point relative profile.  For the survey solution, uplifts include a military grade IMU (inertial measurement unit, corrected GPS, and proprietary post-processing software to build a 2D/3D surface with more accuracy than any competing scanning solution.  For more information on the core inertial profiling system, follow this link: SSI Inertial Profiling Systems » Main Page


2D/3D Survey Instumentation


Longitudinal and Transverse Scanning

Lasers (Pavement Facing)

  • CS9500 Full Lane System: 
    • 5Khz wide beam Class IIIB lasers (1200 points per profile across 2.3 ft/70cm);
    • Resolution (X):  0.27 mm - 0.80 mm •Linearity (Z): 0.05% of MR • Resolution (Z): 0.154 mm - 0.56 mm;
    • 5-6 lasers recommended
  • CS9350/CS8750 Partial Lane Systems: 
    • 5Khz wide beam Class IIIB lasers (260 points per profile over 4”/100mm); recommended for each wheel track
    • Resolution (X): 0.095 mm - 0.170 mm • Resolution (Z):  0.015 mm - 0.040 mm •
    • Linearity (Z):  0.01% of MR
    • 32Khz single point Class IIIB lasers (recommended for centerline and perimeter lasers)
    • Resolution (Z) 0.005 mm • Linearity (Z) 0.05% of MR
  • Accelerometers: 
    • Aerospace grade single axis accelerometer sensors for measuring vehicular vertical acceleration.
    • Measurement range: +/- 10g. • Resolution: 0.0001g).
  • Optical Encoder:
    • Wheel mounted high resolution optical encoder for fine increment distance measurement.
    • Longitudinal distance accurate to 0.1%.
    • Optional GPS based distance measurement


IMU-GNSS Sub-System

  • GPS: 
    • Embedded GPS/GLONASS (L1/L2/LBand; SBAS/PPP)
    • Up to 100Hz Sampling
    • RTK Accuracy: 1 cm + 1 ppm
    • RTK Initialization time:  <10 s
    • Time to first fix:  19s (hot); 40s (cold start)
  • IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)


    • Post-Processed Position Accuracy (no GNSS outage):
    • Horizontal:  .039” (10mm) • Vertical:  0.79” (20mm)


Operator Computer & Software

  • Toughbook 54 Computer: 
    • Typical Configuration: Windows 10 Pro), Intel Core i7-6600U 2.60GHz, vPro, 14.0" Full HD Screen, Gloved Multi Touch Display, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel WIFI a/b/g/n/ac, TPM, Bluetooth, Emissive Backlit Keyboard,
    • In-Vehicle Workstation: Pedestal mount with wired docking station for Toughbook. Swivel mount for accesso by driver or passeng
  • SSI Software: SSI Profiler 3: Comprehensive Software Suite: SSI’s Profiler 3 software is a single, unified program for:
    • System configuration, calibration and surface scanning.
    • Data analysis, reporting and visualization.
    • Advanced modules for raw data editing and data exports to support numerous third-party applications.
    • Real time GPS guided navigation through previously collected surface data.
  • SSI CAD Utility: The SSI CAD software module is used for:
    • Merger of control data with scan data for near total stations elevation content.
    • Build and visualize cross-sections or open area 3D topographies.
    • Tilt, zoom, pan visualization through scan data.
    • View intensity/reflectivity data, draw and extract profile lines within 3D data for profile design analysis.
  • Profile Design Module: Use surface scan data in SSI’s Profile Design module:
    • Analyze existing surface and optimize design for best IRI smoothness values.  
    • Configure design parameters for slope, cut/fill and smoothness.  
    • Export design data for variable depth milling, paving or grinding machine control (e.g., LAS or PNEZD).
    • Data compatible with third-party CAD design software. 
  • Validation Engine: Use SSI’s Validation Engine software for advanced evaluation of the scanning system and quality of its measurements:
    • Built-in profiler health assessment with raw sensor data display and data PSD analysis
    • Compare multiple same surface profiles for repeatability, cross-correlation and ride statistics
    • Import reference profile to evaluate accuracy (equipment self-certification assessment)
    • Apply global filters and edit profile data
    • View GPS content throughout run path


Integrated System Performance

  • Operating Speed:
    • 5 mph (8 kph) to 70 mph (112 kph)
  • Longitudinal Profile: Sampling Area and Interval:
    • CS9500:  Data sampling at 1-2” (depending on vehicle speed).  4” (100mm) of laser data in vehicle wheel tracks extracted for longitudinal profile and IRI analysis under DOT inertial profiler certifications for ride quality (smoothness) testing.
    • CS9350/CS8750:  Data sampling at 1” (25.4mm) default spacing at all operational speeds.
  • Compliant Specifications: CS9500/CS9350/CS8750:
    • Meet or exceed Class I requirements of ASTM Standard E950 (“Standard Test Method for Measuring the Longitudinal Profile of Traveled Surfaces with an Accelerometer Established Inertial Profiling Reference”).  Complies with applicable DOT and other industry standards, including AASHTO M328, R054, R056 and R057.
  • Transverse Profile: Sampling Area and Interval:  
    • CS9500:  Full lane width (12-14’ft) scan capturing data at 0.5” spacing transversely with a new profile generated every 1-2” (depending on vehicle speed) in the direction of travel.
    • CS9350/CS8750:  Separate tracks of longitudinal surface data collected by each laser module merged with cross-slope data for reasonable estimation of transverse profile.
  • Compliant Specifications:
    • CS9500: AASHTO 70-14 (Collecting the Transverse Pavement Profile). AASHTO PP69-14 (Determining Pavement Deformation Parameters and Cross Slope from Collected Transverse Profiles)
    • CS9350/CS8750: AASHTO PP38 (5-point rut depth) and South Dakota Rut Method (3-point rut analysis).
  • Cross-Slope:
    • Accurate to within 0.1 to 0.2% based on repeat collections in forward and reverse directions on a test surface (10 runs in each direction).  Maximum difference of 0.175% compared to 50 smart level reading at 10 ft spacing.  100% of measurements repeated slope results to within 0.2%.  96% of the measured slopes in either direction were within 0.1% of smart level readings. 
  • Repeatability & Accuracy:
    • 2D Longitudinal Profile: Multiple DOT and AASHTO certifications routinely demonstrate that SSI’s systems achieve these results: Repeatability: Above 92% point-to-point correlation between multiple same surface data collections.  96-98% repeatability scores frequently achieved.*  Accuracy: Above 90% point-to-point correlation between SSI system and reference data (generated by walking profiler or survey instrument.  94-96% accuracy scores frequently achieved.*  *Results calculated using FHWA ProVal software or SSI Validation Engine.  
    • 3D Surface Data: Under typical conditions, individual points within SSI system scan areas compare to within 0.01-.0.05 ft in repeat same surface data comparisons or in accuracy comparison to data from conventional survey instruments.  The 0.01-.0.05 ft repeatability and accuracy results are based on combined, post-processed inertial profile, IMU and RTK GPS data sets.  Improved performance to near total stations accuracy can be achieved with merger of control data using SSI CAD software module.  For more details, see CS9500 Control Data Merger here. Results can degrade with variables, such as inaccurate calibrations, GPS variability, excessive speeds or challenging surfaces (significant super-elevations or curvature).


Physical & Environmental

  • Dimensions & Weight:
    • Laser/Accelerometer Modules:  
    • 8” L x 4” W x 4”H • 5lbs
  • Core Electronics Module:
    • 8” L x 5” W x 5”H • 6 lbs
    • Housed in secondary enclosure: 12” L x 16” W x 6”H • 6lbs
  • Mount Hardware:
    • CS9500:  72” L x 12” W x 40”H (152 cm L x 20.3 cm W x 61 cm H)  •  ~80 lbs (34 kg)
    • CS9350: 60” L x 10” W x 24”H (152 cm L x 20.3 cm W x 61 cm H)  •  ~50 lbs (34 kg)
    • CS8750:  See Polaris Ranger 500EFI
  • Environmental:
    • Temperature: Operating ambient temperature range:  32° to 122° F (0 to 50° C); non-laser component operating temperature range:  0° to 140° F (18-60°C). Storage temperature range: -25° to 160° F (-32-71°C).
    • Humidity: Operating humidity should not exceed 90 percent (noncondensing); non-operating humidity range shall not exceed 100 percent (noncondensing).
    • Moisture: Profiling system components impervious to moisture.  Quality of surface measurements degrade with excessive moisture.  Recommend against use with active rainfall, standing water or ponding on surface.
  • Power Attributes:
    • Consumption: 120 W max
    • Input voltage:  +8 to +16 VDC






Mobile Surveying Systems


SSI mobile surveying systems deliver dense, accurate 2D or 3D surface scans for use in pavement design and machine control applications. Combining the best of inertial profiling system technology with conventional survey instrumentation, SSI mobile surveying systems can be used—even simultaneously—to generate high resolution surface scans and DOT certified ride quality measurements. Featuring patented technology, the SSI systems offer unique, multi-purpose solutions:



SSI’s Survey-Profiler mobile surveying systems are available in several configurations. All systems function as mobile surveying systems and ride quality test equipment (AASHTO/ASTM/DOT compliant).



For land surveying applications, SSI‘s Survey-Profile systems generate more accurate, higher density 2D relative surface scans and 3D topographies as compared with any competing system.  And in a fraction of the time taken by conventional surveying devices or methods.  Without lane closures or traffic control!  3D systems merge in corrected GPS and can further add control points for near total stations accuracy. 

Use SSI CAD software’s Profile Design module to generate surface designs optimized for IRI smoothness with configurable parameters for cuts, fills and slopes.  The SSI design data supports outputs for variable depth milling, paving and diamond grinding.  The surface data also exports to CAD formats for use with other surface design and machine control software.  

For pavement quality testing, SSI mobile surveying systems are also best-in-class inertial profilers.  Compliance with agency specifications is guaranteed (e.g. ASTM E950; AASHTO M328, R054 and R056-057; Tex-1001-S, DOT and Transport Ministry).  The inertial profiling and GPS subsystems can be operated together or separately according to the project conditions or user requirements.