#1 – Volkan Akbay and Rick Householder

In this episode, Dr. Stewart Walker, Managing Editor of LIDAR Magazine, interviews Volkan Akbar and Rick Householder of Woolpert to discuss how airborne lidar helps coastal communities respond to and prepare for extreme hurricane seasons.

Episode Transcript:

LIDAR Magazine Podcast Series: #1 – Volkan Akbay and Rick Householder

January 8th, 2024

Announcer: Welcome to the LIDAR Magazine Podcast, bringing measurement, positioning and imaging technologies to light. This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of rapidlasso, producer of the LAStools software suite.

Stewart Walker: Hello and welcome to the LIDAR Magazine podcasts. My name is Stewart Walker; I’m the Managing Editor of LIDAR Magazine and this our very first podcast. I feel honored to have been asked to host them. We’re working hard to ensure that the podcasts prove an effective way to bring our premier contributors—who invariably have interesting projects, insights, opinions—closer to our subscribers.

                              And our guests today are from Woolpert and Woolpert’s a firm that’s extremely well-known to the lidar community. It dates back to 1911; it’s a top architecture, engineering and geospatial—that’s known as AEG—and strategic consulting firm. It’s got more than 2,000 employees based in more than 60 offices across the globe.

                              So our guests today are Volkan Akbay and Rick Householder. Volkan is an ASPRS certified photogrammetrist, he’s a project management professional with 24 years of industry experience. He’s currently a project manager for several lidar and mapping programs serving local, state, federal and private clients and he’s based in Woolpert’s Dayton headquarters.

                              And, indeed, it’s interesting that his father also worked for Woolpert, so there’s some very heartwarming history there.

                              Now, Rick is Woolpert’s Geospatial Program Director. He’s an award-winning GIS leader who has spent nearly three decades advancing Florida’s geospatial capabilities. Before joining Woolpert, Rick worked at the South Florida Water Management District as a scientist, geographer and geospatial section leader and he works out of Dayton’s Miami office.

                              So, gentlemen, welcome to the LIDAR Magazine podcast and thank you very much for being our Guinea pigs at this very first one.

Rick Householder:      Thank you very much, we’re honored.

Volkan Akbay:           Thanks for having us.

Stewart Walker:          The rationale for this podcast is that you have both worked on a project for a Woolpert client in Florida, St. John’s County, and the key point about this is acquiring lidar before and after a hurricane or tropical storm, a serious weather event, so that damage can be accessed, recovery accelerated and the effects of the event assessed in order to foster resilience.

                              The article will appear in the upcoming Airborne Technology Showcase issue of LIDAR Magazine and the article is entitled, “Lidar Making Waves in Florida Beach Resilience.”

                              I think, frankly, that’s one of my sad attempts to be pithy, but probably the subtitle is more informative and the subtitle is “Lidar Helps Coastal Communities Respond to and Prepare for Extreme Hurricane Seasons.”

                              So, the article is in the magazine’s design stage; that’s what we now call the process that in the old days of hot metal would have been called “typesetting.” The authors also presented the project earlier this month at the most recent lidar workshop run by the ASPRS Florida Region and the University of Florida; that’s was the 15th such workshop. The chair of the workshop was a LIDAR Magazine regular contributing writer, Dr. Al Karlin and it was both face-to-face and remote.

                              So, why don’t we start by giving each of you an opportunity to say a little about yourselves? And, of course, I’m curious how two professionals based hundreds of miles apart cooperate on a project like this.

                              We’ve already explained that Volkan is a Woolpert veteran, 25 years, whereas Rick came across within the last two years from South Florida Water Management District. And it’s very interesting that that path by Rick parallels the one of Al Karlin that we just mentioned {laughter} who crossed from Southwest Florida Water Management District to Woolpert also fairly recently.

                              So, gentlemen, would you like to say a little bit about yourselves, how you’ve come to cooperate on this project despite coming from offices that are very widely separated in the geographical sense? Do you want to start, Rick?

Rick Householder:      Sure, I can kick that off. Yes, and you bring up Al Karlin who is a friend of mine; we serve on the board of ASPRS together and we do come from similar backgrounds.

                              Like you had mentioned, I’d been with the Water Management District, South Florida Water Management District for 25 years, ran the geospatial section there for about eight years and actually retired at 25 years about a year and a half ago. I’m also a university professor down at Nova Southeastern University teaching GIS remote sensing and all the technologies that we’re actually going to be talking about here.

                              So, it’s been quite an adventure going through 25 years of state service, absolutely loved working at the Water Management District and all the challenges that we met helping the State of Florida protecting the Everglades, which was one our primary focuses, dealing with resilience, also dealing with any kind of emergency management and storm-related events that occurred.

                              But thrilled to be on the other side with Woolpert working with people working with people like Volkan that have an enormous amount of experience in this area and Woolpert has the abilities and capabilities, resources, to take on projects like this; we have basically our own little Air Force and Navy that we can throw at projects like this and it’s very exciting.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, and the commonality between Rick and I is this project, this St. John’s Beach lidar project, one of many projects that we work together on. But that’s what’s brought us together to discuss this St. John’s Beach lidar project and wanted to bring it to the public so that other government entities or other states could realize the benefit of this program.

                              The 2022 hurricane season was quite extensive and damaging in South Florida. So, we wanted to just showcase this innovative approach and actually cost-effective approach at acquiring lidar for the beaches pre- and post-hurricane.

                              And as far as my experience is concerned, starting at Woolpert 24 years ago was the era of film before the digital renaissance and before lidar even existed. Back then stereo compilers would digitize DTM points manually every 50 feet or 25 feet and add breaklines as necessary and this lidar technology didn’t exist back then.

                              So, the lidar technology itself is an innovation, in essence. It’s just amazing how much data can be captured with a single pass of a lidar system and how much data it can gather from the beginnings of lidar, 2 points per square meter now to at least 20-plus points per square meter of very highly accurate lidar. It’s come a long way.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, indeed. I can’t resistance a divergent down memory lane. I can remember when I was collecting data for my master’s degree in Canada back at the end of 1973 using an analytical plotter and being absolutely delighted that it would move to each point of a digital terrain model and all I had to do was put the floating mark on the ground. And, of course, at that time we thought that was pretty innovative.

                              Anyway, going on to the project, and I think you’ve already touched on this a little bit, but the notion of having elevation data before and after a weather or earthquake event, that’s well known and, indeed, Al Karlin himself has written about that in the magazine, a couple of articles.

                              But in the cases that Al refers to, there was no special lidar flown before the event; they had to use whatever was available whereas in your case I think part of the project is to fly lidar specially for the area before the anticipated weather event.

                              And I’d like to ask you to talk about that because, first of all, I find it interesting because we hear at these Florida lidar workshops about the incredible amount of lidar available in Florida and how much the various organizations at national, state and county level are flying in Florida.

                              But in this case there were two weather events: hurricane Ian and tropical storm Nicole, you flew before Hurricane Ian, you flew after Hurricane Ian which therefore gave you data to use before Tropical Storm Nicole and then you flew after that.

                              So, can you talk a little bit about what’s special about this and what’s special about the lidar that you acquire that makes it different from what was available off the shelf?

Volkan Akbay:           The main difference is the proactive solution compared to the reactive-type solution. A lot of times after an emergency event, lidar is flown to determine what kind of damages have occurred, but there’s no comparison or there’s a comparison but the time lapse between the original lidar and the post event it could be years, it could be five years or more.

                              So, in this instance it’s compacted the time lapse between the original lidar that’s flown before the event and then the post event is just a matter of months.

                              And then the lidar itself was acquired at 20-plus points per square meter so that we’re able to acquire elevation data to monitor beach erosion and support dune maintenance throughout the season.

Rick Householder:      One thing I would like to add to that, when we approached St. John’s County in 2019, we didn’t necessarily know that there was going to be a hurricane down the line.

                              When you live in Florida it’s almost expected, starting in June and going to November and especially as we get into the fall months of September/October, we see a vast increase in hurricane and tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Basin and the Gulf for that matter.

                              And so, the idea of using lidar technology to acquire the coastal elevation data before and after hurricanes to monitor the erosion seemed like an excellent way to mitigate some of these storms that are going to approach. We can’t stop them, but what we can do, as Volkan suggests, we can help prepare for them and be proactive.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. And also, just to add to the technology of it, the pre- and the post-hurricane lidar are both flown at 20-plus points per square meter at an accuracy on average of five centimeters so that comparing the pre and the post datasets you’re able to do quite an analysis, an engineered type of analysis between the two.

                              So, many times that reactive approach of collecting high-density, high-accuracy lidar post event but then you’re really falling short on what you’re comparing it to. It could be five-year-old two points per square meter, 15 centimeter accuracy lidar.

                              In this instance you’re really able to make quite a comparison between the two datasets of what actually happened and that’s what the client – that’s what they really want is that engineered type of analysis.

Stewart Walker:          That’s remarkable: 20-plus points per square meter both before and after.

Volkan Akbay:           Exactly.

Stewart Walker:          Now you also acquired imagery, is that correct, at the same time?

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, the imagery was an ancillary dataset just in case that it was necessary to mark or denote some sort of an environmental or houses that are torn down or any sort of impact after the hurricane the imagery could be used.

                              But the lidar is the primary deliverable but imagery also is an ancillary type of a deliverable that could be used for any sort of analysis. So, it’s there just in case but it can be used for multiple purposes.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, I’m sure your teeth must have grated just like mine did where you talk about five-centimeter accuracy and one-foot resolution in the same sentence.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. We definitely needed to make sure that there is appropriate survey ground control…

Rick Householder:      Yes.

Volkan Akbay:           …all along the coast to be able to support those kinds of accuracies. So, we – at Woolpert we have our own in-house survey department that takes care of those things as well as Florida PSM, certified PSMs that sign and seal these survey reports as well as the final lidar report.

Stewart Walker:          Now, were there any special technical challenges? You did mention air traffic control problems but were there also issues in the flight before the weather events? You can’t wait too long; the weather event is approaching. You need to get up there and fly before it becomes perilous.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. This time was a little bit challenging. Sometimes we can make it out there and fly. The idea is to fly in the June/July timeframe, but the timing of when we flew the pre-hurricane lidar was a matter of weeks before the actual event happened.

                              So the timing of the mobilization, making sure that there’s appropriate weather, cloud-free, not as much wind—that’s always a challenge in Florida is the wind—and making sure that the timing of the post-hurricane you can get down there and remobilize.

                              We have aircraft flying all across the United States flying lidar, you never know when a hurricane is going to happen but thankfully NOAA has a good tracking system and we keep an eagle eye on those things and communicate with the client and if there is, indeed, going to be some sort of event we’re on the ready.

                              And then when an event actually happens it’s a matter of remobilizing down into that particular area and then working with air traffic control to make a – when these environmental disasters happen, there are a lot – FEMA and aircraft in the air, so we have to coordinate with all of them to make sure that safety is of top concern really.

                              So, got to make sure that everyone is safe and the air traffic is compliant and weather is appropriate and optimum to fly the lidar pre and post, really. So, it’s always a challenge; this lidar air acquisition is – the timing and the air traffic control is certainly always something of contention.

Rick Householder:      And just to give you an idea of the 2022 hurricane flights and the time span here, so anticipation of Hurricane Ian’s arrival, we flew on September 23rd and then you have Hurricane Ian makes landfall on the 25th and then we turn around and fly again on October 11th, then November 9th we have Nicole makes landfall and then we have another flight on November 18th.

                              So, you can see how much activity is compressed in a very short period of time and that coincides with the most active time for hurricanes in Florida.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, and only a firm like Woolpert, which has got a large number of aircraft, would be able to accomplish anything like that.

Rick Householder:      Certainly our capabilities and resources help, {laughter} to say the least.

Stewart Walker:          Now, on that subject, what sensor or sensors do you use for this and did you have to acquire any data that was actually under water or did you just go to the shoreline?

Volkan Akbay:           This was a topographic collection; we do have capabilities of bathymetric lidar, no question about it, but in this particular instance the topographic lidar was of utmost importance and what St. John’s County was interested in.

                              And then the sensor itself was a RIEGL 1560 II with a Phase I camera flown at approximately 2500 foot AGL.

                              {Music}

Announcer:           The LIDAR Magazine Podcast is brought to you by rapidlasso. Our LAStools software suite offers the fastest and most memory efficient solution for batch-scripted multi-core lidar processing. Watch as we turn billions of lidar points into useful products at blazing speeds with impossible low memory requirements. For seamless processing of the largest datasets, we also offer our BLAST extension. Visit rapidlasso.de for details.

Stewart Walker:          One of the things that you’ve mentioned in the article is that you have a piece of software that you’ve developed yourselves called SmartView® Connect and that this was useful for you but also for your customers to look at the data. Could you say more about that, please?

Rick Householder:      Yes. SmartView® Connect is a web-based tool offering visual representation of the activity. So, the Coastal Management Department showcased before and after dems using SmartView® Connect.

                              It allows them to show residents and leaders the extent to which the beaches were wiped away or impacted after both Ian and Nicole. And then they used that data to determine who much sand was lost in the upper dry beach portion of the dune system.

                              So, being able to share this information via an application like this is extremely important. Pictures are worth a thousand words. It’s one thing to describe something like this that impacts to the beaches in just a couple of talking points, but to actually show the impacts in where specifically this storm has caused so much damage is extremely important; not only important to taxpayers but also important to other funding sources, whether it be state or federal.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, and to those aren’t quite as familiar with lidar and what a digital elevation model means, this SmartView® Connect, like Rick said, a picture is worth 1,000 words: you can go in and you can see, you can click the pre-hurricane dem and then the post hurricane dem and have the ortho on in the background and what kind of an impact, how much of the beaches were wiped away.

                              It is very convenient for St. John’s themselves to show other type of entities, their stakeholders that aren’t quite familiar with the lidar technology, to basically show them, “Hey, this is what happened, this is the visual representation and this technology allowed us to do this type of analysis.”

Rick Householder:      And if I could add to that also, and I discussed this with my students quite a bit, it used to be 10, 15 years ago it may have been difficult for the public to interact with data such as these just because they didn’t have an understanding about how layers are placed on top of one another and you can do comparisons.

                              But I think with the advent of Google Earth and some of the web-based mapping technologies that are out there now, the public gets it. They have a comfort level now with being able to interact with these web apps and web maps and they can see for themselves – based on these tools they can see for themselves the damages and the impacts that storms like this can cause and it helps them support these kinds of efforts.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, I think it makes a huge difference when those of us in the world of geospatial technology have a way to present the wonderful things that we do to the public who are the ultimate beneficiaries.

                              And on the subject of beneficiaries, one of the things I liked in the article—and it was new to me—was that the very presence of the deliverables that you have created enables the county to go and seek funding, for example, federal funding, US Army Corps of Engineers, that would not be possible if the data weren’t available.

Rick Householder:      That’s correct. And these engineered beaches impacted by storms like this are eligible for additional funding. So, the ability to bring this data and this information up helps secure this type of funding and projects going forward to mitigate some of these impacts.

                              And based on the data that we’re seeing, these storms are getting more frequent and quite a bit stronger.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, it’s – and having this data on hand allows them to get funding faster and almost immediate because they have an actual engineered service of what exactly was lost; they don’t need to do – the analysis is a lot faster because they have two high-point density lidar datasets that comparisons can be made between the two of how much beach was lost and getting that federal funding and getting the remediation underway is of utmost importance to the county and for the people of Florida.

Stewart Walker:          That gives you as project leaders some additional satisfaction that you’ve enabled your client and the people who live there to receive a long-term benefit despite the short-term misery that they’ve encountered.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. It makes us feel good that we’ve done our part to assist Florida and the people and help out in any way. So, of course hurricanes are disastrous, there’s people that are displaced, but it makes – it feels good to make a difference.

Rick Householder:      Absolutely. One thing I just wanted to clarify that we’re saying this term “engineered beaches” and your listeners might say, “What’s an engineered beach?’ Well, an engineered beach is a coastal management department constructs any kind of shoreline project, that beach is categorized as being engineered and that’s what we mean by that.

Stewart Walker:          Thank you. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Woolpert. I’ve already very briefly described it in a couple of sentences. It’s maybe worth adding that Woolpert is currently 56 in the top 500 design firms listed by Engineering News-Record.

                              So, the company’s obviously doing well and I remember myself having the great honor earlier this year presenting two Lidar Leader Awards to Woolpert professionals.

                              Dr. Qassim Abdullah, Woolpert’s Chief Scientist and Vice President, received the award for Outstanding Personal Achievement in Lidar. Now, he’s an industry veteran admired by us all. I’ve known him for decades; he’s another contributing writer to LIDAR Magazine.

                              And the winner of the award for Outstanding Innovation in Lidar was Woolpert sensor Bathymetric Unmanned Littoral LiDar for Operational GEOINT with the acronym BULLDOG and that was developed out of Woolpert’s expertise and development efforts for the Department of Defense by Dr. Nathan Hopper and his team.

                              So, one wants to ask after that, there’s obviously so many exciting things going on in the company. What do you think makes it special? And maybe one of the things that came into my mind were I’d, of course, researched that Woolpert is an AEG company. Do the A and the E parts and the strategic consultancy part, are they able to help to advise intermedial work in St. John’s County or is the geospatial part separate from the other parts?

Volkan Akbay:           Our architecture and engineered groups, we all work together when we can work together. Everyone – we’re all under Team Woolpert and for the St. John’s Beach lidar project, the County themselves has their own engineer group so they took care of the engineering aspect of this.

                              Should there ever be a need for Woolpert engineers to consult with Florida, we have the capabilities to do any of that and same with the architecture and the design aspect of it.

                              So we all work together as a team not only in the State of Florida but for all of the United States and worldwide; we all work together as a harmonious team under one guise and under one umbrella.

                              There’s all kinds of experts that we have like Qassim and Nathan Hopper that we utilize for sensor development or industry – that gets industry recognition. It’s just absolutely amazing.

                              It’s bigger than I could have ever imagined when I started at Woolpert 24 years ago and then when my father started to work at Woolpert back in 1976 it was a – less than a dozen folks in a basement in Dayton, Ohio.

                              The term geospatial didn’t even exist then; it was just photogrammetry. It was a photogrammetry department in a survey firm with engineering capabilities and then how it’s morphed into this global AEG firm is just absolutely amazing.

Rick Householder:      One thing that we say a lot in the company is “One Woolpert.”

Stewart Walker:          Yes. And if you can bring together all these considerable strengths, you have a tremendous package to offer to your clients and prospective clients.

                              Well, let’s go back to something that both of you have mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, we seem to be in a period of both sea level rise and increasing frequency of major weather events.

                              So, as we’ve said, the resistance, the resiliency, the rapid response are of growing significance. So, the St. John’s County model seems very applicable. So, do you think it’s relevant to other US states and also to other countries?

Rick Householder:      I think absolutely. Just because Florida is a hanging out out there almost on an island and it makes it a desirable target for a hurricane, we often don’t get hit as much as some of the other – so maybe some of the gulf states, certainly South Carolina is often a target.

                              So I think as the frequency of storms continues to increase and, in fact, we’re talking about some data that shows that maybe 8% per decade, almost everybody’s going to be impacted. So, the ability to be able to get out in front and be proactive is extremely important for our future.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. And it’s also cost effective to just fly the beach itself or whatever parts that are the most impacted like in the St. John’s area it would be applicable to all along the coast of Florida, all throughout the Panhandle, along the West Coast, California and any environmental disasters, earthquake. In the Americas as well, around the islands.

                              The cost effectiveness, though, and the return on investment is really what I – I can’t say that enough. In this particular instance with St. John’s County, there was two events which is unprecedented but just flying the beach itself instead of flying the entire county which can be quite expensive there’s a major return on investment not only for the county but for the state and, in the end, for the people.

Rick Householder:      And I think as this technology progresses just like we’ve seen, I’ll give you another example that I use in my classes is drones. We’ve seen this explosion of drone use since they came onto the scene around 2012 or so, but as this technology progresses and gets more frequently used it’s almost going to be second nature to use it in these types of scenarios.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, I think that’s an excellent point. So, the perception becomes different: it becomes accepted to use these…

Rick Householder:      Exactly.

Stewart Walker:          …technologies. It’s just part of the process.

Rick Householder:      To me—and I tell my students this all the time—this is science fiction come to life. If you went back 30, 40 years ago using lasers whether terrestrial or bathymetric to get these very precise elevations and then be able to display this imagery in these models very, very quickly is very science fiction-like and it’s only going to increase in its complexity.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, as the technologies evolve we’re able to provide data faster and faster to the clients…

Rick Householder:      Absolutely.

Volkan Akbay:           …and to their constituents as well. So, I mean, talk about the film days, it would take a long time to manually tie images together using a stereo DSR or some sort of an old-school type of machine. Now we’re flying lidar, processing it and turning it around and providing a deliverable within one to three months.

Rick Householder:      And the public’s going to expect that kind of results, that kind of turnaround time because they know the technology is out there and if it’s not being performed in their specific area they’re going to wonder why. We know it exists, we know its capabilities. Why aren’t we using it in a given area?

Stewart Walker:          Yes, well maybe that’s a segue into the last couple of areas I wanted to talk about. The topic really is Woolpert’s expansion through acquisitions. And I’ve read the press releases; you’ve made an amazing number of acquisitions and one that springs to my mind is AAM in Australia.

                              The reason for that is it was originally, I think, Australian Area Mapping and then AAM hatched. And the general manager, Brian Nicholls and I worked together at Leica in the 1990’s. I remember spending an evening with him at the ISPRS Congress in Vienna in 1996.

                              So, you’re integrating international acquisitions into your firm and being able to cultivate an international clientele. Is that an important objective?

Rick Householder:      I think it’s hugely important. So much of our world has become global in nature; we’re doing projects all over the world and to have these firms that have the experience in the local area is extremely important.

Volkan Akbay:           The whole point is to be able to make a difference in the world. This pre- and post-hurricane lidar it’s applicable to Australia or any of these Asia-Pacific countries and also in Europe and anywhere else.

                              So, working on projects in other continents is always a challenge but it’s very interesting and the technologies are the – of communication and very quick communication, it makes it all happen.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, indeed. So, you’re expanding geographically but you’re also, I see, expanding in terms of your technical capabilities: you’ve acquired Geomatics Data Solutions and eTrac, they’re both West Coast firms on the hydrographic side. You’ve acquired Optimal Geo, a geospatial partner based in Athens, Georgia.

                              So, you have the challenge of integrating all these companies but when you can do that it means that Woolpert’s capabilities are enormously and rapidly increased.

Rick Householder:      Yes. And one shoutout I want to give is we’ve just taken on a new project, a project that is part of a statewide effort to map the sea floor. So, Florida Seafloor Mapping Initiative, we became a part of that about a month ago and we have the honor of doing about 20,000 square kilometers of the Florida Keys.

                              So, we will be flying that for the next six months to a year acquiring this bathymetric data that will help tie in both the bathymetric and terrestrial data for the whole state. We will be one of the only states that has this product.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, we have a really solid group of people that work on these projects through acquisitions, through our organic growth and through our acquisitions we’re able to put together the best people and the best technologies to be able to handle any type of a geospatial project and who knows what is going to happen in the next decade, so.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, indeed. Well, maybe I should just say for listeners that we actually have an article coming up from Al Karlin about the Florida Seafloor Mapping Initiative so that will give some perspective, too.

                              Well, I want to end just before we roll up with a question that maybe it’s a little bit early to ask this and if so just say so, but I see that you’ve just announced a strategic alliance with Allvision which is an artificial intelligence startup in Pittsburgh that is described as a geospatial analytics and asset management company.

                              And one of the goals seems to be to develop AI tools to address lidar point clouds and help generate deliverables from them such as digital twins. Have you heard anything about that?

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, we absolutely have. Being able to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to help create highly accurate and a very quick turnaround of quality products, it’s imperative to keep up with the pace of the rGO spatial technology.

                              So, this team initially will be focused on lidar point clouds but will not be limited to lidar point clouds; they’ll be utilizing their expertise in impervious surface collection, buildings, planimetrics, any sort of a derivative that comes from highpoint density lidar and/or high resolution ortho imagery.

Rick Householder:      And I think that’s a really good segue into when you think about lidar, the flying lidar is just part of that, provides the base. And as Volkan just mentioned, those derivatives are so important for municipalities and states and counties to be able to make decisions based on stormwater runoff or taking into account impervious surfaces and building planning and overall resilience.

                              So, the lidar offers so much rich information that can help inform decision making.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, and these AI solutions will just help speed products that get delivered to clients.

Stewart Walker:          Yes, I agree. Well, we’re coming to the end of this first of the LIDAR Magazine podcasts. Are there any final words that you’d like to say to round off or maybe some insight into where you think Woolpert will go next?

Rick Householder:      The sky’s the limit. {Laughter} How about that?

Volkan Akbay:           Yes. There’s technologies that are being developed right now that I can’t speak to specifically but stay tuned.

Rick Householder:      Very exciting.

Volkan Akbay:           Yes, very exciting. There’s going to be some exciting things to happen in the future; that’s one reason why I like to work at Woolpert is staying on top of the technologies and they do that. We all work together and come up with very innovative types of solutions.

Stewart Walker:          That’s, I think, an excellent way to end. I would like to thank both of you very warmly for your time, for your contribution to the magazine not only the podcast but also the article that you submitted. And obviously we hope to have further podcasts with Woolpert professionals in the future.

                              I also want to underline our gratitude to our sponsor, rapidlasso GmbH the German software company founded by the late Dr. Martin Isenburg.

                              Thank you for listening. We hope you will join us for the next podcast where my guest will be Jason C. Fries, Founder and CFO of San Francisco company 3D Forensic. Thank you very much indeed.

Announcer:           Thanks for tuning in. Be sure to visit lidarmag.com to arrange automated notification of new podcast episodes, subscribe to newsletters, our print publication and more. If you have a suggestion for a future episode, contact us. Thanks again for listening.

                              This edition of the LIDAR Magazine podcast is brought to you by rapidlasso. Our flagship product the LAStools software suite is a collection of highly efficient, multicore command line tools to classify, tile, convert, filter, raster, triangulate, contour, clip and polygonize lidar data. Visit rapidlasso.de for details.