2018 LIDAR Leaders

(…and the winners are)

A 3.215Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

The inaugural LIDAR Leader Awards ceremony took place at this year’s International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) in Denver. ILMF–in cooperation with Spatial Media’s LIDAR Magazine–designed the unique program to recognize excellence in three distinct categories:

Outstanding Personal Achievement in LIDAR
Outstanding Team Achievement in LIDAR
Outstanding Enterprise Achievement in LIDAR

Lisa Murray, Group Director at Diversified Communications stated of the awards, “Heading into our sixth year of managing the International LiDAR Mapping Forum, I felt there was a need to create an awards program to recognize the amazing projects that were being presented at ILMF. Every year we learned about ground-breaking technology and innovative uses of lidar, yet there was no industry platform recognizing significant accomplishments. So the LIDAR Leader Awards were born to give the lidar community a chance to acknowledge and celebrate colleagues and achievements at their largest annual gathering in Denver. I approached Allen Cheves at LIDAR Magazine about partnering on this project and he enthusiastically agreed! In our first year, we received 86 nominations–more than we ever imagined–and have identified 3 winners who were announced today at the awards ceremony. We look forward to celebrating the winners and all the nominees for their excellent work and contributions.”

Dr. A. Stewart Walker, Managing Editor at LIDAR Magazine agreed. “Throughout more than 40 years in the profession, I have continuously marveled at the technological initiatives and the people who have brought them to our geospatial world. In my various roles in ASPRS I have been in contact with numerous individuals representing organizations, both public and private, with remarkable talents for executing challenging projects. The LIDAR Leader Awards provide recognition for these individuals and organizations. Nevertheless, I was amazed at the number and quality of the nominations we received and am honored to have participated in the process. The Awards are off to a fine start and we hope they will enhance the industry in the years to come.”

ILMF and LIDAR Magazine are excited to continue celebrating excellence in years to come and congratulate all of the nominees and winners for their work in advancing the industry.

Outstanding Team Achievement: North Carolina Emergency Management
The Outstanding Team Achievement in LIDAR (2-99 members) was awarded to North Carolina Emergency Management for their North Carolina Next Generation Lidar Collection team project, consisting of a five-year endeavor to collect data for the entire state. In coordination with USGS, the group started down the path of updating their legacy (lidar) data, originally flown between 2000-2005. 60 of 100 North Carolina counties were collected at 2ppsm (linear-mode) while 40 were covered via an 8 ppsm (geiger-mode) collection. While the effort was led by the office of Emergency Management and the NC D.O.T, several federal agencies and 10 different companies were ultimately involved. All data is available to the public via the program’s website and has already shown significant benefits in flood zone creation for flood mapping, feature extraction for building footprints and roads in addition to regular NC D.O.T. usage for things such as planning, canopy height determination and many other creative uses.

Hope Morgan, GIS Manager at North Carolina Emergency Management said, “It is quite an honor to win the Outstanding Team Achievement in LIDAR. I was privileged to work with an amazing team of people on a coordinated effort between Federal, State, and commercial groups that allowed us to provide a great benefit to the public and the industry alike.”

In addition to contractors and partners, Ms. Morgan went on to specifically thank Marc Swartz from NC D.O.T. for his work in developing an automated quality control process (for lidar data). She also thanked Gary Thompson, Watson Ross, and James Gay for their efforts with overall field and quality control. The group commended USGS for the coordination of phases 1 and 2, assistance through the BAA grant for several phases and ongoing assistance with standards and specifications.

Outstanding Enterprise Achievement: U.S. Geological Survey
The winner of the Outstanding Enterprise Achievement Award (100+ members) was U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for its impressive work on The U.S. Geological Survey 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The organization developed the program, which acquires high-quality three-dimensional elevation data for the Nation and produces point clouds, bare-earth digital elevation models, and other products. Vicki Lukas, part of the 3DEP Management Team, said of the project, “USGS manages the 3D Elevation Program–3DEP– on behalf of the community to advance national lidar, from communicating documented needs to decision makers to working with a broad range of partners to acquire and deliver data nationwide.”

Read more about the history and future of the program on page 18 of this edition: “3D Elevation Program: Looking Back and Forward”

Outstanding Personal Achievement: Dr. David Maune
r. David Maune, Associate Vice President of Dewberry, was recognized for his Outstanding Personal Achievements in the industry. Maune has pioneered efforts such as authoring FEMA and NDEP documents that served as de facto lidar guidelines and specifications, has worked lidar portions of ASPRS Standards and USGS LIDAR base specifications, and was the editor and primary author of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions of the DEM User’s Manual. Maune, who is often described as “The father of lidar,” stated “I won’t be satisfied until we have a seamless, highresolution, high-accuracy 3D Nation from the tops of the mountains, to the depths of the seas, to include our inland rivers and lakes.”

Editor’s Note: After receiving the award, Dr. Maune gave an outstanding acceptance address, shoehorning a chronological account of US lidar and its quality control into a few minutes. David is the author of multiple manuals, books and technical papers and numerous other authors have written about him and his multiple accomplishments. To pursue something a little different, I asked Dave to enlarge on the part of his address that had described his “lidar dreams”, which you can read over the pages that follow.

A 3.215Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE