Lidar News Today – February 9, 2016

Lidar News AdThis week’s Lidar News Today includes a position statement from the TRB AFB80 committee asking the FAA to recognize that the surveying and mapping community has been safely operating in National Air Space for decades. Hence, as experienced professionals we should be treated differently than recreational users when it comes to the new UAV/UAS regulations.

If you are struggling with the volume of lidar data then Lizard Tech may have a solution for you.

Finally, the state of Michigan is taking the lead in 3D as-builting standards for underground utilities. In general, the methods being used today are hand sketches with ties to objects on the surface and maybe notes on the depth of burial.

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OGC Point Cloud Working Group Survey

ogcThe Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)  Point Cloud Domain Working Group (Point Cloud DWG) formed late last year to assess the current state of standards and best practices in the management of point cloud data and to guide OGC activities in working with or developing standards for point cloud data interoperability, discovery, and dissemination. The OGC Members  decided that the best way to begin the process is to survey the point cloud community, asking for input and details about usage of various point cloud formats, sizes, device types, etc.

Please fill out the brief online survey. Interested parties can also join the Point Cloud DWG e-mail list.

Last year, the OGC and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) agreed to work together more closely in the application and promotion of standards and best practices for the location and geospatial industries. An early priority for this partnership is to jointly assess the current state of adopted and de facto standards for Point Cloud data and consider collaborative publication of one or more standards where there is a mutual benefit of both organizations. Survey results will be shared with the ASPRS.

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3D Lidar Mapping in New Hampshire

UNH-lasers-jpgNew Hampshire has a couple more days to be the center of the universe, but after the primary on Tuesday it will be back to the real world which for a state that is 84% forested involves a large forestry industry and wildlife concerns.

Mark Ducey of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has been investigating how aerial and ground light detection and ranging — better known as LiDAR — can be used to provide more accurate and detailed information about forests. The technology maps three-dimensional land surface elevations.

Ducey and his research team have partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and National Resource Conservation Service to work on projects in the White Mountain National Forest to see how LiDAR can help map rare plant communities, wildlife, soils and timber management. They found an old homestead with a well that would be big enough for someone to fall into.

“The old-fashioned way of doing this is really labor-intensive and probably not affordable in the long run for the U.S. Forest Service,” Ducey said. “The airborne LiDAR maps land forms and provide an initial guess of what we might find on the land. The role of the field work is then to verify what is there rather than starting from a blank sheet of paper,” he said.

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Seeing Around Corners

extreme lightThe Extreme Light group at  Heriot-Watt University is working on an interesting research project that enables a camera to detect moving objects that are not within the direct line of sight.

The researchers have demonstrated a compact, non-line-of-sight laser ranging technology that relies on the ability to send light around an obstacle using a scattering floor and then detect the return signal from a hidden object within only a few seconds of acquisition time. By detecting this signal with a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) camera, the researchers can follow the movement of an object located a meter away from the camera with centimeter precision.

Their prototype camera system allows the object’s position behind the wall to be localized to within a centimeter or two, and by making measurements every few seconds the camera can also detect the speed of a moving object. In contrast to previous methods, which required long data processing times, the new method can track moving objects in real time. The camera is currently limited to locating objects up to 60cm away from a virtual mirror on the floor, but this should improve to around ten meters.

Professor Daniele Faccio from Heriot-Watt said, “The ability to detect the3D shape of static, hidden objects has been demonstrated before, but the long acquisition time required by existing methods meant locating and monitoring the objects was a major challenge.

“We can now track hidden objects in real time and we’re still making discoveries about how the light identifies the objects, and can picture them in considerable detail.

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Texas Plans Major Lidar Program

psomasThe Texas Natural Resources Information System – TNRIS –  has a long history of successfully managing Lidar data acquisition projects. They have also helped guide data specifications for many other regional and local Lidar projects. TNRIS is now coordinating the acquisition of new, high quality elevation data for the 2016-17 winter season. This project supports regional and local governments by providing the opportunity to acquire these Lidar data products at significant cost savings.

This project will fall under the umbrella of the new Texas Strategic Mapping (StratMap) Contract, a GIS data and services contract held at the Department of Information Resources (DIR) and administered by TNRIS. The StratMap Contract is the second generation of geographic data contracts administered by TNRIS. It replaces the previous High Priority Imagery and Data Sets (HPIDS) Contract. Under the HPIDS Contract, TNRIS managed 19 Lidar acquisitions from 2009 to 2015 covering over 50,000 square miles in Texas.

There is also a recap of projects taking place around the state of Texas.

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Delta Drone Completes Antenna Inspections

droneDelta Drone is a company based in France that you may want to check out since they are allowed to offer inspection services using a civilian UAS.

They just announced the successful completion of its first 100 inspections of wireless-network telecommunications antennas, which were carried out in 2015 on behalf of ORANGE FRANCE.

They have a section on their website that is labeled “Ethics” which is very informative about the UAS regulations in France and Europe. If we can’t fly at least we can learn what others are doing in the meantime.

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asiWhat’s in a name? Well, in the case of UAV and UAS it seems that people like to interchange these, myself included, but some recent work on a position statement by the TRB AFB80 committee that we intend to send to the FAA revealed a better approach. By the way, this position statement points out that the professional surveying and mapping community has been safely operating in National Air Space for decades and that we deserve to be treated differently from other groups.

Qassim Abdullah at Woolpert has proposed that UAV is for the platform, i.e. aircraft and whether fixed wings or rotary and that UAS is UAV + payload (cameras, sensors, etc.). This makes a lot of sense to me and I can’t see any down side, but perhaps we are missing something.

Any comments?

Posted in Education, The Industry, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Lidar News Today – February 2, 2016

Blog Forum AdLidar News Today has hit the street with a summary of the important news items of the past week in one location. Learn how Lanmar CTO and Lead Modeler Larry Kleinkemper has found a powerful new software that can handle the truly complicated 3D piping data extraction projects.

And Paul DiGiacobbe from Maser Consulting looks back on the work he and his team did to advance mobile lidar mapping to the point where now it is quickly becoming the preferred solution for many corridor mapping projects.

There is also news on an important software update from Riegl and how Ryan Hacker at TruePoint Laser Scanning is seeing the use of 3D laser scanning becoming more accepted in the construction arena.

Enjoy and please contact me if you would like to get the story out about your company.

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3D Utility Coordination in Michigan

spicerNow this was an encouraging follow-up to the previous post. Eric Barden, a Principal with the Spicer Group reports that progress is being made in Michigan with utility as-builting standards. The Michigan Utility Coordination Committee – MUCC is developing the Geospatial Utility Infrastructure Data Exchange initiative. GUIDE is set to radically change the 3D spatial awareness and spatial quality of underground utility information in Michigan.

Eric reports, “Right now we are writing the full standard for all utilities.  MDOT will require full implementation in about 12 months.  Any new utility that is installed in their ROW will be required to be surveyed in full 3D and submitted in accordance with this standard.”

That is great news. Must read report. Thanks Eric.

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Utility As-Builts – Mandate Needed

utilityI am writing a paper for an upcoming conference being sponsored by a new ASCE institute – Utility Engineering and Survey Institute, or UESI. The topic I am pursuing is the use of mobile lidar to collect as-built utility locations.

Believe it or not, the current standard practice is not good. If there is an as-built it is usually done it is likely to be a sketch with ties to physical objects on the surface with the depth recorded below grade, not an elevation based on a universal datum, like sea level or any real world coordinates.

James Anspach has been doing a lot of work on this as the Chair of the ASCE 38-02 committee. Have a look at this presentation. He is trying to get people to adopt a standard for as-builting utilities. I am sure it seems obvious to most of us, particularly in the case of underground utilities, but it is not happening.

Whether it be mobile or static lidar we all know that in a few short minutes the critical location information in 3D can be obtained with laser scanning. Now can someone convince the owners that this it is inexcusable not to do this?

Posted in 3D Modeling, Construction, Inspection, Mapping, Standards | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment