A Virtual Reality Art Experience Courtesy of LiDAR

Credit: York Press -  Annabeth Robinson's artwork for Vespertine

Credit: York Press – Annabeth Robinson’s artwork for Vespertine

This is one of the coolest LiDAR applications I have read about this week. A church in York, England has been scanned to create a virtual reality experience. This project, a part of the York Vespertine series, bridges art, archeology, music and the technology of LiDAR.  AOC Archeology Group is responsible for the scans; artist Annabeth Robinson and musician Jez Wells worked with these scans to create a unique virtual experience for visitors.

“The AOC Archaeology Group, from York, has used laser-scanning technology to record millions of pinpoint measurements of St Margaret’s Church and this information will be transformed into a virtual reality journey that visitors can experience using smartphones and VR goggles.” – (Courtesy of the York Press)

Visitors are even encouraged to use a sound beam and light controller to alter the environment in the church, creating their own work of art for others to experience.

Wishing we could all experience this one in person. Friday field trip?

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Mayan Mapping Project Seeks Crowd Funding

Courtesy BRASS/El Pilar

Courtesy BRASS/El Pilar

Experiment.com is a website dedicated to helping fund the next wave of scientific research.  Bill Gates has endorsed the site saying, “This solution helps close the gap for potential and promising, but unfunded projects.” The platform is similar to the well known Kickstarter, only for funding scientific discoveries.

As cool as this is in general, there is a newly posted project that is of particular interest to the LiDAR related world. Scientific researcher, Sherman Horn, PHD, is trying to secure funding to map more accurate details of ancient Mayan ruins at El Pilar.

The project states that, “LiDAR mapping at El Pilar revealed several previously unknown large structures, but many smaller structures in low, swampy areas were invisible to this technique. This project will develop a program of field-checking LiDAR anomalies to clarify the patterns of small structures in seasonal swamps, where settlement models predict people would not live.”

An article on the work at El Pilar can be seen at Popular Archaeology.

If you decide to help support this project, leave us a comment.  We’d love to know our readers have been a part of this historic project.

If it does receive funding, we’ll be looking to post an article about the findings in our Project Showcase section of LiDAR News.

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Trimble Makes Wallstreet News

philippine-stock-market-boardAutonomous cars and UAVS continue to top the news. As we see LiDAR technology becoming more relied upon every day, the LiDAR waves are hitting Wallstreet.

Trimble’s (TRMB) performance this year is a strong indication of things to come. The Independent Republic reported on Trimble last week, referring to the company as a “Scorching Hot Tech Stock”. This report comes on the heels of the Intergeo Conference in Hamburg, Germany last week, the world’s largest trade fair in the field of geodesy, spatial data and land management where Trimble and many other LiDAR related companies introduced evolved technologies.

Trimble describes its company as integrating “its positioning expertise in GPS, laser, optical and inertial technologies with application software, wireless communications, and services to provide complete commercial solutions. Trimble serves a variety of industries including agriculture, engineering and construction, transportation and wireless communications infrastructure”.

Trimble has recently introduced Trimble® TX6 and improved TX8 high-performance 3D laser scanning solutions. The TX6 and the TX8 leverage Trimble’s patented technology, combining microsecond time-of-flight distance measurement with advanced on-board signal and 3D data processing.

Today, drones and self-driving cars are becoming household topics of conversation. Soon enough, we’ll all be relying on the technology that drives them. I can only imagine we’ll continue to see strong LiDAR related performance on Wallstreet this year.

Might want to call your broker.

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Lidar for Flash Flood Monitoring

remotesensing-08-00834-agA proof of concept study was recently conducted at the Amacuzac River in Mexico. The study focused on what is called “inclined lidar”.  According to the abstract published at MDPI, inclined lidar “works based on the fact that a near-infrared Lidar mounted with a large incidence angle can detect suspended particles slightly below the surface, provided that the water is very turbid, something which is likely during flash floods.” The Amacuzac is known for its turbid waters “Secchi depth < 0.5 m” and therefore provided a useful starting point for study of this concept.

With the turbidity of the water at the Amacuzac, the lidar was able to successfully detect the water surface and provide useful data. This study proves that an inclined TOF Lidar can be useful in monitoring water levels during flood scenarios. The abstract also commented that their study indirectly proves that a Doppler Lidar could be helpful in monitoring water velocity.

With the increase in severe weather world wide, this could prove to be crucial for safety in flood risk areas.

Thanks to Serge Tamari and Vincente Guerrero-Meza for sharing their findings.


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Autonomous Highway for Vancouver and Seattle

2014-03-04_geneva_motor_show_1187There is talk of an autonomous vehicle highway connecting Vancouver and Seattle.  The proposal is coming from tech entrepreneurs including Tom Alberg, a board member of Amazon and Craig Mundie, a former Microsoft exec.

This project would begin with driverless cars sharing the road, then a dedicated lane for their use and eventually road hours dedicated solely to autonomous vehicles.

CBC News reports that Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be discussing this idea and others at the Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference today.

Increasing movement towards ideas such as this elicit much inspiration, consideration, questions and concerns.  What do this and other autonomous vehicle projects mean for the future of our country, landscape and communities?  There are no simple answers and it will be quite something to continue to watch and report as these ideas and projects move into the future with lidar at the forefront of the driverless car conversation.

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US Army Seeks Partner for Long Distance LiDAR System

The US Army has developed a long distance LiDAR system allowing them to better calculate range and velocity measurements of long distance targets, such as incoming missiles. This technology allows them to more accurately discern between actual threats and false alarms. At closer ranges, they will be able to create 3D images in near real-time of these threats. If you are interested in becoming a partner and applying for a license for this technology, or if you are interested in more details regarding this technologies capabilities and technicalities, please click here.

Thank you to Brian Metzger with TechLink for the heads up! As always, if you ever have an idea for a post, please send it our way.

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Cambodian Lidar Initiative is Rewriting History


Dr. Damian Evans, an Australian archaeologist, is the architect of the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative (Cali) and a research fellow at Siem Reap’s École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO).

In 2012 and 2015 The Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative scanned the jungles of Cambodia, finding new and groundbreaking evidence of medieval cities that once stood there.

The ERC, European Reseach Council funded the 2015 scan project based on the work Evans did in 2012 which unearthed the network of medieval temple-cities.  At that time, a city was found beneath Mount Kulen, proving what archeologists has been suspecting for some time.

The much larger scan conducted in 2015 showed the immense scale of the city beneath Mt. Kulen including features such as elaborate water systems.  In June, the Guardian reported that these findings could “upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history”.  Evans says these discoveries even “call into question the whole notion of an Angkorian collapse.”

The research from these scans by Dr Damian Evans have been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The team at Lidar News is very interested in continuing to follow the incredible work that the Cambodian Archeological Initiative is doing.  We will share their findings here and in more detail at the Lidar News website.

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MIT and the city of Amsterdam Team up on Autonomous Boats

Roboat-Sensable-City-3Most of the news on autonomous vehicles centers around the world of vehicles designed for roads.  But what if your city or town is surrounded by water – what if the avenue to your home or business is not a road, but a canal?

With global technological movement flowing towards self driving vehicles, it was only a matter of time before a metropolis such as Amsterdam started thinking about the future of autonomous vehicles in terms of their city landscape.  And that means boats.

Enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  They are pairing up with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) to begin the world’s first large scale research project on autonomous floating vessels for cities, cleverly called Roboat.  This is a five year initiative including researchers from MIT, Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research.

The budget?  25 million euros.  The first prototypes? AMS says they’ll be in the water in 2017.

I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing much more news about this project and any others of its scale focusing on autonomous vehicles.

What’s next?  Autonomous ice cream trucks?  I’ll have mint chocolate chip, please.

Read more on the project at AMS.

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The Future of Mining

Mine Planning Page Banner Flat Inset 1000x250Looks like the future of mining is now…

How valuable would it be for mining companies to organize, analyze, and present all of their data in one all encompassing system?

Trimble’s connected mine software provides a platform to store data on just about everything that contributes to the business of mining. From massive remote sensing data sets to blast data to geochemistry to extraction and processing equipment, the software bills it self as a one stop shop.

I can see this being used by consultants and mining companies to make high level decisions on capital expenditures, all the way down to the day to day decisions on the “nuts and bolts” of the operation.

One of the biggest challenges in our industry is displaying survey data and results in a clear and meaningful way that is easy for end-users to understand. This software could be the answer that the mining industry has been looking for.

The kicker for me is the 3D-Virtual Reality-Boardroom Table-Quarry Map… How cool is that!?

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Leica Announces HDS University

leicaIf you have not been able to attend HxGN Live to take advantage of the  training classes then this may be the answer.

Leica Geosystems has announced the launch of HDS University, a new hands-on educational opportunity for professionals looking to expand their skillset in the growing field of laser scanning/high-definition surveying (HDS). During a three-day session Oct. 25 through 27, HDS University will bring courses in laser scanning hardware and software to professionals at the Leica Geosystems Americas region headquarters near Atlanta.

A quick review of the listing shows a wide variety of topics and areas of interest. The cost is $395 per course.

In partnership with the University of Arkansas, Leica Geosystems is offering continuing education unit (CEU) credits on most HDS University classes. A limited number of one-on-one consulting sessions with Leica HDS experts are also available on Oct. 24 and 28 for a nominal additional fee.

An early registration discount of 20% is available to those who sign up for their courses by September 30.


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