Points & Pixels

A collection of the top projects, products, and pictures from around the LiDAR world.

A 5.975Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazinecomplete with knock-your-socks-off imagesis available by clicking HERE

Under the Biodome
The Biodome of Montreal was initially built as the Velodrome for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. It was then transformed into the Biodome in 1992. It is now home to four major sections that are replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americas: Tropical Forest, Laurentian Forest, Saint Lawrence Marine Ecosystem and Polar.

Recently, the City of Montreal, which owns the infrastructure, decided to undertake major renovations and organized an International contest to receive concept proposals from architectural firms. In order to provide 3D models to the participating firms, the city, gave Topo3D the first contract to scan and model the 4 ecosystems. The firm that won the contract (Kanva) hired Topo3D for the second phase which was to scan the entire building.

At an early stage Topo3D were able to immediately leverage the existing data and insert the architect concept in the point cloud to see what it would look like and enable them to refine and adjust the concept.

Topo3D then proceeded to scan the totality of the building with two scanners. Registered the data with Cyclone and generated more points of view in the early stage of the concept. Generating sections, plan views and relevant points of view.

Topo3D then used the registered data to model the building in AutoCAD using CloudworX. The final result was then delivered into a Revit Model for the architects to pursue their work. One other goal was to create a model that could actually be printed to do a mockup of the reality. Topo3D is still working on this project with mechanical and structural engineers.

As a traditional surveying company, Topo3D used to deliver 2D drawings mainly using Autocad. However, their collaboration with Leica, their investment in cutting edge software and their emphasis on building a highly talented team allowed their innovative mindset to bear fruit. As one of the leaders in the scanning industry, Topo3D is dedicated to providing high quality services and helping their clients achieve successful results.

For more information, contact topo3d.ca

Real Earth Partners with Velodyne to Lower Cost of Entry for Creating High Res LiDAR Maps–Without GPS
In a move aimed at stimulating the growth of new mapping applications, Real Earth (realearth.us) has partnered with Velodyne LiDAR to lower the cost of entry for creation of high quality LiDAR-sourced maps without reliance on GPS.

As part of the collaboration, Real Earth will offer users free access to its web-based software, which processes Velodyne LiDAR data and converts it into maps. Because costly GPS and inertial navigation systems are not required, these next-generation maps are significantly more affordable than those developed with standard mapping systems. Real Earth’s web-based service (realearth. us/mapmaker) enables users to upload laser scans and receive dense 3D reconstructions in return. Standard CAD tools can then view and manipulate the registered point clouds.

The Real Earth/Velodyne collaboration supports all three models of Velodyne’s high-definition, real-time 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors–the original 64-channel HDL-64E, the popular 32-channel HDL-32E, and the newest, cost-competitive model, the 16-channel VLP-16 LiDAR Puck. For applications where the sensors are moving rapidly, Real Earth’s algorithms take advantage of the information from the HDL-32E’s IMU (Inertial Moment Unit), adding another layer of robustness.

Real Earth develops software for 3D laser scan registration and real-time position estimation that can be deployed on handheld, ground vehicle, or aerial platforms. The real-time software is simple to use– sensors and systems can be standalone, without requiring synchronization of external GPS receivers and IMUs and thereby require little integration effort.

Velodyne is recognized worldwide as the standard for LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicle applications, having created enabling technology for the industry. Velodyne introduced multi-channel, real-time 3D LiDAR during the 2004-2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and has since optimized the technology for a range of other applications, from unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile mapping to robotics and factory automation.

"The speed and ease with which these LiDAR maps are created is nothing short of remarkable," said Dave Duggins, Project Manager at Real Earth. "Imagine someone walking through a 12-story parking structure and five minutes later having a stunning registered 3D point cloud. That’s what we’re so excited about."

"Our collaboration with Real Earth represents a real breakthrough in mobile mapping," said Wolfgang Juchmann, Ph.D., Velodyne Director of Sales & Marketing. "Velodyne’s new VLP-16 LiDAR Puck is a perfect fit for this web service. The Puck’s compact size and light weight keeps it mobile and its market-leading price keeps the cost of entry low. For customers who need higher accuracy, the HDL-32E is ideal, with its built-in IMU sensors that augment the SLAM algorithms in high-velocity applications, like handheld or on UAVs."

Users can log laser scans using Velodyne’s open-source VeloView software, Real Earth’s drivers from their web site, or other opensource drivers, including those from Robotic Operation System (ros.org) or the HDL-Grabber by PointCloudLibrary (openperception.org). Up to 1 GB of Velodyne LiDAR data can be uploaded via a web interface for free, and registered point clouds are available and accessible anywhere within a few hours via a link emailed to the user. Real Earth plans to license its software to produce maps for larger volume customers or to provide real-time pose estimates for robotic guidance and navigation.

For more information about Velodyne LiDAR, visit velodynelidar.com
For more information about Real Earth, visit realearth.us or email info@realearth.us.

Woolpert LiDAR Supports Hurricane Sandy Assessment and Grand Teton Resource Management
Woolpert produced these lidar-generated images for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC) in Rolla, Mo. The images were taken from 0.7 meter, or 2 points per square meter, lidar projects. The New York, N.Y., data was used to assist the USGS in the evaluation of storm damage and coastal erosion in response to Hurricane Sandy, which pummeled New York and New Jersey in 2012. The images of the Grand Teton were part of the first high-resolution lidar dataset acquired for Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. This forestry data will support the National Park Service in a variety of applications, including resource management, modeling, vegetation analysis and wildfire mitigation.

This August, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has contracted with Woolpert to evaluate new lidar (light detection and ranging) technologies to assess the suitability to support the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP).

This use of the single photon and Geiger mode lidar for this evaluation is new to the commercial market, according to Woolpert Project Director John Gerhard.

"This technology provides the ability to fly at higher altitudes while acquiring data at an increased point density," Gerhard said. "The USGS has asked us to provide an evaluation of this sensor technology in support of 3DEP."

The USGS is developing the 3DEP initiative to respond to the growing need for high-quality topographic data nationwide, to address issues that include flood-risk management, precision agriculture, natural resource management, infrastructure management and hazard mitigation.

Woolpert–a national architecture, engineering and geospatial firm–will then evaluate the data, conduct an accuracy analysis, develop final data products and provide a comprehensive report to the USGS by the end of the year.

Woolpert has provided lidar data collection, processing and 3D modeling for more than 100 cities nationwide, and has led multiple statewide lidar and digital orthophotography projects. Founded in 1911, Woolpert has 25 offices nationwide and is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

For more information, visit woolpert.com

Environmental Aerial LiDAR and Orthoimagery in Suffolk County, NY.
HD-LiDAR and OrthoImagery was recently acquired for this environmental project where our client was interested in evaluating the yearly changes in the beach environment along the 32.7 mile long Fire Island area corridor in Suffolk County New York.

Using AXIS Trimble Harrier 68i High Definition LiDAR sensor on board a Cessna 206, high-density LiDAR data was collected during one mission at a nominal pulse spacing (NPS) of 0.69 m achieving a point density of 2.0 ppm2. UltraCAM Falcon 4-Band Digital Imagery Acquisition with a Pixel Resolution of 15 cm (GSD) was also provided.

The vertical accuracy of the LiDAR and derived DEM will be tested and reported using the USGS LiDAR base specification Quality Level 2 (version 1.2): The relative accuracy of the data will not be more than 8 cm RMSE within individual swaths and less than 16 cm RMSE within the overlap of adjacent swaths.

Founded in 2001, AXIS GeoSpatial LLC is a full service surveying, mapping and GIS firm employing innovative remote-sensing and measurement technologies to capture geospatial data for integration into civil engineering, land surveying and GIS applications. AXIS is headquartered in Easton, Maryland with additional locations in CO, DE & NJ.

For more information visit axisgeospatial.com

GeoShot Technologies successfully completed 560 Kms Power Line Corridor Mapping
GeoShot Technologies successfully completed this Power Line Mapping of 560 Kms for a leading European LiDAR Survey Company. In the project, GeoShot Technologies performed data calibration, classification and transmission line modeling.

Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is widely used for Power line Mapping due to its efficiency and cost-effective approach to generate georeferenced terrain, tower location, tower structure, power line catenary models, and vegetation data.

GeoShot Technologies provides power line data processing, data calibration, data classification, transmission line modeling required for repair and planning of transmission lines and vegetation analysis.

GeoShotTechnologies is a LiDAR data service provider to worldwide clients providing high resolution data deliverables at cost effective prices to its clients across the globe.

For more information, visit geoshott.com

Mapping Large Limestone Mine
In late 2014, Maptek surveyed the extensive underground workings of the Lafarge Conco limestone mine near North Aurora, Illinois. Lafarge needed a map of the workings to check that the mine design was being followed and that the pillars were not being undermined. Careful coordination with other equipment operators ensured production was not impeded and staff remained safe.

The 125 scanning aperture of the MaptekTM I-SiteTM 8200 laser scanner gave good overhead coverage in the tunnels, which range from 100 to 2,100 feet long. Setups averaged 90 feet apart, using multiple point density settings for different purposes. Tripod setups allowed instrument height and azimuth to be determined. Higher resolution 360 scans provided extra detail. The scanner was then transported on a bobcat to conduct stop-go scanning at drift intersections. Lower resolution scans averaged 2 million points, collecting about 1.3 billion raw points of data overall.

Point cloud data was registered to the survey data, and a triangulated 3D surface was generated. Mid-rib contours, showing areas that had been mined, were created at requested elevations, and polylines exported for use in CAD software. Other deliverables included scan coordinate locations in various formats, 3D PDFs and field notes showing intersection names. Screen captures with structural orientations as strike and dip provide excellent detail for geotechnical analysis of large structures, faults and bedding planes.

Lafarge now has a comprehensive 3D map of its underground workings for planning, operations and future closure studies. Ten days of data collection, plus 2-3 weeks for processing the point cloud data, was a significant reduction on the 3 months estimated for conventional survey.

Maptek is a leading provider of innovative software, hardware and services for global mining. Maptek solutions are used at more than 1700 sites in 75 countries, with applications across the mining cycle. Maptek develops industry-leading software for mine evaluation, planning, design, scheduling, operation and rehabilitation. Integrated hardware and software for 3D laser scanning, surveying and imaging collects spatial data for geotechnical analysis, stockpile measurement, design conformance and movement tracking.

For more information, please visit maptek.com

A 5.975Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE