The BLK 360

Here is a quick video introduction to the Leica Geosystems BLK 360.


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Crowd Sourced High Definition Maps

In order to support level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles some vendors are looking to machine vision and deep learning to provide the needed object recognition. This article in Electronic Design explains that in addition to machine vision, radar and lidar will also be needed to provide the needed imagery. Needless to say this is a very complicated problem.

As an alternative MobilEye (recently acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion) plans to rely on crowd sourcing for a real time updating of the highway network.

If there are challenges with the more traditional approach what will the problems be like aggregating crowd sourced data and updating the high definition maps in real time? It’s the last 20% of the problem that there are still no solution for.

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Award Winning DIAL

Steve Karcher, Ball Aerospace
The methane plume imaged from a light aircraft by Methane Monitor: real-time [left] and processed [right].

A team of researchers at Ball Aerospace recently received an award for the work they have been doing with a differential-absorption lidar sensor. The target for the  system is methane gas which is a significant contributor to the greenhouse gases being released each year as well as a danger to the public due to its explosive nature.

The major benefit of the award winning Methane Monitor system is the fact that it can operate from a small fixed wing aircraft versus a more expensive and slower helicopter platform. The differential intensity measurements require signal to noise ratios 500 times better than that of regular lidar.

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TopoDOT Webinar Series

The next webinar in Certainty 3D’s Extracting Value Webinar Series will take place on Tuesday, June 20 at 11 AM (EDT).

These webinars are designed to increase processing productivity, enhance model quality and expand your application scope. This month’s topic is release highlights from TopoDOT Version 10.5, including the Grade Analysis and Speed Advisory tools as well as Template Extraction using Shape.

You can register here.


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Blue Marble Lidar Workshop and User Meeting

Blue Marble Geographics ( is pleased to announce that it will be hosting two events in San Diego during the week of the annual Esri User Conference. The latest stop in the 2017 Blue Marble User Conference (BMUC) series will take place on Thursday, July 13 and a one-day, hands-on LiDAR workshop will be conducted on Friday July 14.

The one-day LiDAR workshop will explore all aspects of LiDAR processing from initial data quality assurance to 3D analysis. The class will introduce the structure and characteristics of LiDAR data before following a series of workflows that demonstrate the point cloud visualization, editing, and analysis capabilities of Global Mapper and the accompanying LiDAR Module.

For more information and to reserve your slot at the LIDAR Workshop visit:

Registration is required for both of these events and space is limited. For more information on BMUC San Diego, visit:

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Philippines Flood Risk Management

With more than 20 typhoons impacting the Philippines on average each year the need for emergency management planning is apparent. To support this effort the Philippine Light Detection and Ranging (Phil-LiDAR) research project, started in 2014 was initiated by the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program.

The program, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), rolled out nationwide by partnering with higher education institutions in different regions as partners. in this case a research team from the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay City, Leyte produced hazard and resource maps for about 40 municipalities and cities from the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar.

On May 26, VSU Phil-LiDAR 1 and 2 projects turned over high resolution maps, and data in CDs to representatives of local government units in the 5 provinces of Region 8 after 3 years of research.

The flood hazard maps, produced by Phil-LiDAR 1, contain information on predicted flood depth and risk levels in areas close to river basins. The resource maps, produced by Phil-LiDAR 2, reflect the agricultural, forestry, coastal resources of a municipality or city, as well as potential renewable energy sources, and hydrologic data.

“The project both acquired aerial and elevation topography, and ground surveys to produce digital elevation models and come up with the flood hazard maps,” said UP Diliman Phil-LiDAR 1 Chief Science Research Specialist Christopher Uichanco.

Uichanco said he is hopeful that VSU’s outputs can help local government units (LGUs) create comprehensive flood advisory systems and design mitigation measures based on the data from the provided maps.

Posted in Data, Environmental, Government, Mapping, Research | Leave a comment

Unsolved Driverless Car Issues

As noted a few months ago the final 20% of the problems facing the driverless car industry are far from solved. Here are just a few of them identified in this article:

  1. The ability to recognize verbal or hand signals.
  2. Unclear lane markings
  3. What to do when a traffic signal is not working.
  4. Turning into intersections with fast moving traffic.
  5. Recognizing small objects in the roadway that need to be avoided.
  6. Operating in all weather conditions
  7. Cybersecurity

Many of these are the anomalies, the exceptions to the norm that it would seem to require a human to make the right decision. There is still a lot of challenging work to be done.

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Virtual Wall Relies on Lidar

You may not know Palmer Luckey by name, but he sold Oculus Rift to Facebook earning two billion dollars in the process. Luckey has now turned his attention to surveillance technology for defense and in particular the use of lidar to detect intruders.

Luckey confirmed his new focus in an email to The New York Times, which stated, “We are spending more than ever on defense technology, yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades. … We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer.”

Luckey beleives he can use lidar to detect what is and isn’t a threat and that this technology can be used to create a virtual wall, perhaps along the border with Mexico.

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AEC Workshops

The USIBD and FARO are joining forces to offer a series of free AEC hands-on workshops.

Please join USIBD™ and FARO® Technologies for a FREE educational, hands-on workshop to learn how to utilize scan data in popular building applications.

Why attend:

  • Receive hands-on demonstrations of the latest 3D Technologies – and see how best to leverage this technology for AEC projects.
  • Networks with other construction and engineering professionals and speak with technology experts during the Q&A session.
  • Learn how to quickly and accurately extract 2D and 3D deliverables from workflows

Click here for locations and dates.

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Waymo vs. Uber Update

In the latest development regarding Google’s Waymo vs. Uber lawsuit lidar guru Anthony Levandowski has been fired by Uber. This comes after the judge ordered all documents in question be turned over and that Levandowski not work on anything involving lidar technology. Levandowski refused to turn over the files, invoking the fifth amendment.

Given the circumstances this move was a likely scenario. It will be interesting to see what comes next.


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