New Author Introduction: Amar Nayegandhi, CP, CMS, GISP

Nayegandhi AmarLIDAR Magazine is pleased to announce that Amar Nayegandhi has agreed to join our team of contributing writers. Amar is a senior vice president at Dewberry and is based in the firm’s Tampa, Florida office. This article introduces Amar’s accomplishments in the geospatial industry, though of course many of our readers already know him well through personal contact or his numerous publications and conference presentations. Amar will continue to co-author articles about projects executed by Dewberry, but we are excited that he is also planning a series of short pieces giving his own thoughts on the important trends in geospatial business and technology. Welcome, Amar.

Introducing LIDAR Magazine’s new contributing writer, Amar Nayegandhi, CP, CMS, GISP

Dewberry Senior Vice President Amar Nayegandhi leads the firm’s geospatial and technology services team and technology solutions market segment. He provides program oversight for the execution of all remote sensing projects for Dewberry’s federal, state, and local clients. Amar has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Mumbai and a master’s degree in computer science from University of South Florida. He has more than 23 years of experience in the geospatial industry and is a former director of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Lidar Division. He is an ASPRS Certified Photogrammetrist and Certified Mapping Scientist – Remote Sensing, and a GIS Professional.

Contributing subject matter expert to the geospatial community

Amar has authored 16 refereed manuscripts in various international journals and more than 65 published reports to support the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other federal agencies. He co-edited the ASPRS DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition1 and authored the chapters on Airborne Topographic Lidar and Airborne Lidar Bathymetry. He also wrote the USACE EM 1110-1-1000 Manual on Photogrammetric and Lidar Mapping2.

Amar has led scores of complex topobathymetric lidar projects for federal clients, including serving as the project manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Supplemental Sandy Topobathy Lidar and Imagery project to map the national shoreline following Hurricane Sandy, which received the 2015 LCDR Peter Johnson Best Practices Award from the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetric Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX).

From 2001 to 2011, he managed operations and was involved in the research and development of the NASA/USGS Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) sensor for the USGS Coastal Program. From 2011-2012, he developed Dewberry’s Lidar Processor (DLP) to process airborne bathymetry data acquired with the Riegl VQ-820-G, which included correcting for refraction of the green lidar signal as it traversed through the water column, using water surface returns from the near-infrared (NIR) lidar.

Additionally, Amar led the review of Geiger-mode and single-photon lidar data for the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). He has presented his research and technological findings at more than 100 international conferences and technical workshops, including an invitation from USGS to present the industry perspective for the USGS 3DEP at the 2018 United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in Deqing, China.

Championing the latest airborne bathymetric lidar technology

Throughout his career, Amar has advanced the use of airborne topobathymetric lidar for coastal and riverine applications. Based on three decades of research and operations, airborne lidar bathymetry has proven to be an accurate, cost-effective, rapid, safe, and flexible method for surveying coastlines where sonar systems are less efficient and can even be dangerous to operate. In the early 2000s and prior, green-wavelength lidar sensors were limited to mapping bathymetry using a large laser footprint on the seafloor, thereby limiting the accuracy and density of data in shallow water environments. With the advent of small-footprint green-wavelength lidar sensors, such as the EAARL, the application of this technology enabled coastal and riverine mapping at data densities and accuracies that were comparable to airborne topographic lidar systems over land. A seamless topobathymetric digital elevation model (DEM) became a reality thanks to advances in sensor technology and data processing. During the first ten years of his career, Amar focused on improving the technology by writing software to process waveform data from the EAARL sensor to produce high-resolution seamless topobathymetric DEMs. For the next ten or more years, Amar helped build a business case for this technology and promoted the application of this technology in the public and private sectors. Today, the technology has evolved to enable topobathymetric mapping in shallow- and deep-water environments. Amar was instrumental in securing Dewberry’s position as the first private company in North America to own the Teledyne Geospatial CZMIL SuperNova topobathymetric lidar sensor. The addition of this sensor to Dewberry’s service offerings provides clients with innovative technology to deliver high-caliber data and the ability to produce seamless topography and bathymetry in coastal, lacustrine, and riverine environments with significant cost savings. The deep channel CZMIL SuperNova uses high-energy green and NIR wavelengths (532 and 1064 nanometers) to map the topographic surface and penetrate the water’s surface to map the bathymetric bottom. It can seamlessly map both topographic and bathymetric surfaces, is typically operated at lower altitudes (400 meters or 1300 feet) and collects data to exceed USGS Quality Level 1 (QL1) specifications, leading to high-density data and resolving above-ground and underwater features in greater detail.

The future of topobathymetric lidar is bright, and the ability to produce inland and coastal seamless topobathymetric data will enable the use of this technology in a myriad of applications, including nautical charting, storm inundation modeling, monitoring engineering structures and the movement of sand, environmental protection, and resource management and exploitation.

1 Maune, D.F. and A. Nayegandhi (eds.), 2018. Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd edition, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Bethesda, Maryland, 652 pp.