Land, Air and Sea

On average, LiDAR USA’s applications are used to gather data for roadway resurfacing, asset/inventory mapping, topography mapping and digital elevation modeling—though the scope, scale and complexity of those projects has grown considerably in recent years.

“With today’s technology, we are able to map huge areas from virtually any land, sea or air-based vehicle, quickly and affordably,” explains Daniel. “The lighter weight allows us to put the system on a variety of platforms, including UAVs, opening up greater opportunities. Already, we’ve mapped subway tunnels in New York City and miles of railroad lines with a combination of UAVs and hyrail scan data.”

Just recently, the company used the ScanLook system to scan the entire city of Hoboken, New Jersey. One of the challenges to developing the city model was to collect LiDAR data along the pedestrian walkway and shoreline where motorized vehicles were not allowed or could not easily access. So they used a boat, a truck and a hand cart. The Fagerman’s scanned the streets by truck, moved the scanner to a boat for the shoreline and finally, set it on a pull behind cart for the pedestrian walkway.

He adds, “With these three mobile vehicles, we mapped the entire city in two days. In terms of technology, the biggest challenge was the city’s location in an urban canyon, which made continuous GNSS difficult. We were able write an algorithm that could go through the trajectory and find the stops to reduce the overall drift (which was mostly in the z-direction).”

The lightweight, versatile IMU has also proven itself when mounted on faster, highly mobile vehicles such as helicopters.

“The helicopter path is not that much different than a car with the exception of the many abrupt 90 degree turns,” says Jeff.

“The helicopter platform’s antenna needs to be carefully positioned to mitigate multipath. Blades are also a potential problem with outage. The STIM300 IMU handles these situations well.”

LiDAR USA also uses the IMU in a gyro plane configuration. “While the gyro plane cannot turn as sharp as a helicopter, it has banking capabilities with full 180 degree turns possible. Again the STIM300 IMU handles the positioning very nicely so it works well for mapping quarries and other larger scale projects that require significant ground travel.”

“We’ve used it to map levees and waterways with no problem. It’s an incredible solution,” Jeff concludes. “There’s so much opportunity to do smaller jobs from a few acres to over a thousand acres. This solution performs well in all cases.”