The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - GPS Aids Trail Design in Luzerne County

The following is a trail update from D&L Trail Steward Scott Everett:

“The D & L recently signed a contract with an engineering firm to design a section of the D & L Trail in Luzerne County. This approximately twelve-mile section of trail stretches from Middleburg Road, north of White Haven, to the Mountaintop Hose Company and encompasses the recently completed pedestrian bridge. We hope to have this section of trail ready for construction in the spring of 2010.Photo 1: A backpack GPS plots the course of a proposed section of trail in Luzerne County.

Recently, I went out with the trail designers to plot the trail alignment. I was struck with the level of technology that is now used for design and survey.

When the land was purchased, all of the property boundaries were incorporated into CAD (Computer Aided Design). These CAD files fully integrate with the existing electronic data on file with Luzerne County and the State. This allows the designers to pull aerial and satellite photos, topo maps, historical landmarks and wetlands into the design. The use of these images is a great help in presenting the proposed project to all of the concerned parties.

Our mission was to add the trail alignment into this data. This was accomplished by a high resolution GPS. While my $150 GPS may be accurate to 12-15 feet, this unit is accurate to about 2 feet. It also allows the user to automatically get a GPS point every “x” number of feet. The surveyor rides his bike on the proposed path and the backpack contains a satellite receiver which marks the points. (Photo 1) We also marked areas where gates and bollards need to be placed (Photo 2), trees needed to be removed and drainage culverts.Photo 2: Sites for bollards, tree removal, or culvert installation are marked with the GPS to aid in the design process.

The engineers then take this data and “connect the dots.” They confirm that the proposed alignment is within the landowner’s (Anthracite Scenic Trails Association) boundaries. A design package is then developed and run through various agencies and the landowner for approval.”

Please check back for updates on trail design and construction.