• David O'Brien

When do you Benefit From Using LiDAR?

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

LiDAR scan of Electrical wires

We've probably all at least heard of LiDAR by now. For those of us who have not, LiDAR "stands for Light Detection and Ranging is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system — generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics." according to the National Ocean Service. However, are you familiar with its usefulness? LiDAR serves a purpose within numerous industries and is available in all sorts of configurations and packages. From the automotive industry to robotics, to surveying, and many more.

Here at SurvTech, we find LiDAR to be a great asset to us in providing top-notch geospatial information to satisfy a variety of our clients' needs. We use it to provide 3D environments and products to serve all sorts of needs. Here are just of few examples of all places we can use LiDAR such as in mining, material volumes, change detection, drainage, forestry, power infrastructure, design plans, and as-builts, video game environments, tunnel monitoring, general topography, and space management;. Pretty much anything that you would want a digital 3D replica of.

3D replica created using LiDAR

One of the keys to correctly using LiDAR to your advantage is to know its limitations, both in a positive and negative 'light'. For example, when performing a topographical survey that contains heavy vegetation, it may be best to regard the LiDAR data as a supplement to ground survey rather than the main source of information. By all means, accurate data can be collected in vegetation, but it will depend on various factors. Such as vegetation height, density, and foliage status just to name a few. In another example, if a client is requesting a design grade survey, a GPS/ IMU-reliant system will not provide suitable data. This is due to the error that will be assumed in the collection, and that the laser accuracy itself that is used in most survey-grade setups. LiDAR can certainly achieve the desired results, but it has to be the right scanner, such as a static-based laser collecting from a stationary tripod.

LiDAR scan from above

Did you know there are lasers tuned to collect bathymetric data? Yes, but just like the others, it has its boundaries. Don't expect to use bathymetric LiDAR to survey your Papa's fish pond that's full of algae and mud. LiDAR also won't yield much success in a water body full of sediment, or one that's beyond the depth range of the laser itself. Time would fail us to touch on every scenario and which LiDAR unit available on todays' market would best suit it. To use LiDAR it must know that there are both strengths and weaknesses of LiDAR. But not to worry! SurvTech Solutions has a strong team of LiDAR experts with the knowledge and experience to help you get quality data from a great technology!

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