Mobile LiDAR & GIS: Background of a Service Provider

Last April, I had the pleasure of presenting Mobile LiDAR at the American Congress on Surveying & Mapping Annual Conference in Phoenix. The first question I received from an audience member after my presentation, took me by surprise What makes you qualified to present this? To be honest, I was a little offended with my initial (and internal) reaction, but after a brief moment to fully digest the question, the proverbial light-bulb went off as I recognized the industry is more widely adopting Mobile LiDAR and as with other instruments of the trade, focusing on the ability of the operator.

So I gladly answered the question by providing my credentials: Bachelors Degree in Geomatics (Surveying & Mapping); several years of graduate school studying everything Geospatial including Geophysics, Urban Planning and Geography all while teaching lectures and labs in Photogrammetry, Surveying and GIS; years of experience in various responsibilities in Surveying & Mapping, including being a small business owner; having been professionally licensed to practice Surveying and Mapping; several years experience in terrestrial scanning and processing; and most recently, being charged with the technical management of Bakers Mobile LiDAR system for the last year and a half. The question demonstrates the unstated recognition that Mobile LiDAR has achieved as a Surveying tool a step change in measurement technology.

Presented and utilized as a Surveying tool, Mobile LiDAR is bound to incite the passions of a profession that has seen dramatic changes over the last two decades. The prevalence of Global Positioning Systems, Geographic Information Systems, Machine Control, Aerial LiDAR and Static Scanning has each presented new opportunities, but have also created debate. Therefore, in addition to a manager and surveyor, I am also an educator. Whether its an existing client, old colleague or other professional, the education is broad and encompasses such topics as: accuracy, products achieved, advantages, disadvantages, limitations and how the measurement technology relates to existing accuracy standards or specifications (perhaps the most challenging). But Im encouraged by the question posed at the ACSM conference, as it indicates the edification of the industry is evident, and old dogs can learn new tricks.

During our time together, I will use this forum to present a number of topics related to: Mobile LiDAR systems; collection and processing from the perspective of the end-user; service providers; and of course, my fanaticism towards the technology. Although I currently manage an Optech LYNX Mobile Mapper system, future posts will also objectively present other manufacturers components, systems, and technologies without bias. Past projects will be presented to demonstrate a broad range of applications and to highlight lessons learned, as well as the presentation of processing software and hardware employed throughout the industry for deriving the vast array of products.

Beyond the services Baker provides, I have no allegiances to specific software or hardware providers. I look for the best solution for my clients. Therefore, I will provide respectful, professional evaluations whether good, bad or indifferent. Healthy discussion and debate is welcome throughout.