Communications Trifecta

We have become a podcaster!1 Three episodes of The LIDAR Magazine Podcasts have been recorded. These podcasts are sponsored by rapidlasso GmbH2, the lidar software supplier founded by the late Dr. Martin Isenburg. The guests in our first podcast are two Woolpert managers, Volkan Akbay and Rick Householder, discussing how they flew lidar for St. Johns County, Florida, before and after major weather events. There’s nothing new about comparing lidar acquired after a disaster with whatever is already available, to see what has changed. But in this case, the project is designed to facilitate detailed, accurate, informative comparisons. This is of major value in reacting to events, preparing for future ones and increasing resilience, and there’s another advantage: the very presence of good elevation data and derived products is a prerequisite for certain types of federal funding. Turn to page six for more information on this project.

The guest in the second podcast is Jason Fries, one of our Contributing Writers, who heads 3D Forsensic, a San Francisco company that uses lidar to support evidence given in court. Jason gives fascinating insights into his firm’s work, particularly on cases involving shootings or road accidents. The acceptance of this sort of evidence in courts of law is relatively recent and it’s fascinating to learn, from a pioneer, how this occurred. The third guest is a French entrepreneur and international executive who lives in Switzerland, Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil, president and chief executive of mdGroup Germany GmbH, of which Microdrones and GeoCue are the main components. Mergers and acquisitions have certainly shaped our industry over the years—think of Hexagon and NV5—so it’s intriguing to hear Vivien recount the history, justify some of the decisions and give his views on changing technologies and markets. mdGroup has been providing support for Microdrones products from the GeoCue campus in Alabama for more than a year now and we learn why mdGroup is moving manufacturing and some of its R&D from Germany stateside. Its NDAA-compliant EasyOne UAV-lidar systems, which include GeoCue’s LP360 software (which in turn is the result of an acquisition, of QCoherent Software back in 2009!), will be made there. One of the aspirations of mdGroup, however, is that LP360 should have a wider appeal, embracing users of “guest sensors”. This strategy was reflected in a recent GeoCue webinar about processing DJI L2 data.

In the new year, we intend to develop more podcast sessions, many of which will support topics covered within the magazine. Beyond Woolpert’s St. John’s County piece, we have two pieces in this edition from Contributing Writer Dr. Al Karlin, whom we congratulate on his recent election as vice president of ASPRS. Beginning on page 14, you’ll find a report on the spring 2023 Lidar Workshop in Florida, the 14th in the series. These workshops are packed with lidar content and attract multiple presenters from government, the private sector and academia. We’re going to change our policy, by posting shorter accounts of these workshops on the website, in the interests of immediacy, then pursuing some presenters for full articles.

Al’s second piece (page 24) reports on the Florida Seafloor Mapping Initiative, a huge project to provide data in support of the state’s recovery and resiliency as the frequency and severity of weather events grow. The plan is mapping out to the 20 m isobath with lidar, then to the 200 m isobath with sonar. Dewberry has been one of the contractors involved—we will try to solicit articles from the others—and has used its new CZMIL SuperNova sensors from Teledyne Geospatial. There’s a tinge of sadness here, though. I learned a lot about the SuperNova at Intergeo in Essen in October 2022, from Teledyne expert Don Ventura We have a little in common. We were born in the same part of Scotland (Lanarkshire), then he went into the Navy and became an accomplished hydrographic surveyor, whereas I entered academic life. Then we ended up on the supplier side of the geospatial industry in North America. How sad that he passed on too early, on 5 March 20233.

On page 48, Prof. Ruisheng Wang and co-authors from the University of Calgary (yes, the same school where Prof. Derek Lichti, the Congress Director for the XXV ISPRS Congress in Toronto in July 2026, works—it attracts numerous brilliant scientists!) give a description, already published on our website4, about the creation of point clouds and derived models for buildings. This benchmark dataset will enable researchers to develop urban modeling methodologies using high-quality data from real buildings. The generation of such datasets is perhaps not the most exciting task to which to direct our sharpest minds, but these tools are essential if we are to advance in an authoritative way, because without them new developments cannot be verified.

Antero Kukko is a professor from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute and we welcome his contribution on multispectral lidar. Addressed on page 30, his Institute has developed a system with three lidar sensors at different wavelengths and he explores the value of the data, especially in environmental applications. The power of multiple-wavelength lidar systems is unarguable. The concept is applied in a different, but no less powerful way, in Woolpert’s amazing BULLDOG topobathymetric system, as reported in LIDAR Magazine at the end of 20215. Some time ago Teledyne Optech, as it was then, offered the Titan system, based on the multiple-wavelength principle.

The article that begins on page 36 is another that we read with mixed feelings. The UK lidar system supplier Routescene has been working with non-profit The Halo Trust on mine clearance. The initial tests were in Scotland, but the focus of the article is Angola. It’s heartening that less dangerous approaches to mine detection are being developed and that lidar is a useful tool in this essential humanitarian effort, but sad that we have to use it to ameliorate horrors that we occasion upon ourselves.

It’s not long now till we present the 2024 Lidar Leader Awards in Denver and once again many superb candidates were nominated. Like the podcasts, the Lidar Leader Awards highlight the people behind the technologies and the applications through which lidar makes the difference.

Thus we contend that LIDAR Magazine has a modern footprint to suit the preferences of our audience: compelling, topical articles in print and on the website; news, updated daily, on the website; podcasts; and the Lidar Leader Awards. We’re going to be busy, reporting and celebrating as lidar becomes increasingly pervasive, solving problems, improving lives. Thank you for reading. LIDAR Magazine wishes you a successful and fulfilling 2024.

1 This outrageous use of the royal “we” is whimsical, an allusion to the notorious words, “We have become a grandmother”, announced by Margaret Thatcher to the press outside 10 Downing Street on 3 March 1989.



About the Author

Dr. A. Stewart Walker

Stewart is the Managing Editor of the magazine. He holds MA, MScE and PhD degrees in geography and geomatics from the universities of Glasgow, New Brunswick and Bristol, and an MBA from Heriot-Watt. He is an ASPRS-certified photogrammetrist. More articles...