Direct Metal Laser Printing

For all of the car nuts out there (of which I am one) this video will be of interest on a couple of levels. First is the fact that it involves Jay Leno and his famous “Garage” and second is the idea of direct metal printing of parts for some of Jay’s incredible car collection which I was lucky enough to visit.

The idea is to create the part using a high quality metal material instead of plastic in what is being called direct manufacturing using laser sintering. The cost is still quite high. It runs $500 per vertical inch, but it all depends on the value of the part you are replacing as to whether it makes sense.



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iPhone 8 May Include Scanner

A J P Morgan analyst is reporting that the new iPhone 8 may include a front facing laser scanner which will be used to replace finger print recognition on earlier versions. There were problems with the touch screen when it was wet. The facial recognition will  be more secure.

I have not seen any information on the details of this including the source or type of scanner.

This will certainly be a big boost to the overall 3D industry in much the same way that GPS has become universally accepted. The analyst is predicting that the module will add between $10 and $15 to the bill of materials and in the future could be used for augmented reality applications.

If you have any thoughts on a supplier please let us know.

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ILMF and ASPRS to Co-Locate in 2018

The big announcement from this year’s ILMF conference is an agreement with ASPRS to co-locate their annual conferences in Denver next spring. Each group will maintain their technical programs and they will share an exhibit hall. Attendees will be offered a universal pass in addition to the individual conference programs.

Lisa Murray expressed her excitement about the opportunity. “The geospatial community has long been asking event partners to work together. This is a giant step toward a shared vision of bringing industry members together with government and academia for a powerful combination of education, technology innovation and commercial exchange.”

Kudos to all involved in making this happen.

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Laser Scanning Blood Vessels

A team of researchers are using a laser scanning device to investigate the health of blood vessels. It’s still in the early stages of development, but the initial results are promising.

“The camera actually goes inside the vessels,” principal author Luis Savastano, a Michigan Medicine resident neurosurgeon, said in a news release. “We can see with very high resolution the surface of the vessels and any lesions, such as a ruptured plaque, that could cause a stroke.”

“This technology could possibly find the ‘smoking gun’ lesion in patients with strokes of unknown cause, and may even be able to show which silent, but at-risk, plaques may cause a cardiovascular event in the future,” he said.

Univ. of Michigan Medicine



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Geiger-mode for Autonomous Vehicles

This is an informative video interview with the CEO of Princeton Lightwave, Dr. Mark Itzler who explains the potential benefits of Geiger-mode lidar to the development of autonomous vehicles.

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Geomatics Educator’s Conference

(Note – Here is an opportunity to give back to your profession by supporting this group.)


We are pleased to invite you to the 2017 Surveying and Geomatics Educators Society Conference at Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) on July 30th-August 3rd, 2017.  This is a phenomenal opportunity to connect with geomatics educators and others involved in the geomatics profession across the globe and discuss the many challenges and opportunities facing geomatics education.

Details of the conference, including accommodations, are available at:

At this time, I’d like to encourage you to submit an abstract to participate on the program.  While the closing deadline for abstracts is not until May, I’d encourage you to submit them as soon as possible!

For more information on the Surveying and Geomatics Educators Society and prior conferences please see:

We hope to see you at Sages 2017 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!  Note that the conference includes a vacation day to explore the inspiring scenery.


Michael Olsen
Associate Professor of Geomatics
School of Civil and Construction Engineering
Oregon State University

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Surveying Engineering, ASCE

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Eliminating Crosstalk

When two or more lidar sensors are in operation at the same frequency there is the possibility that crosstalk will occur. This could cause a vehicle to take evasive actions when they are not called for. Facet Technology is offering a license for their crosstalk elimination technology.

Essentially this software encodes the signal with a digital signature such that the return signal can be uniquely identified.

John Dolejsi, CEO of Facet Technology, says “Facet is working with several Tier 1, Tier 2 and LiDAR suppliers to engineer their next generation products to be crosstalk safe and secure. Our company’s mission is to help make vehicle automation safe and affordable for all stakeholders in the industry. Suppliers are starting to solidify their hardware designs for the mass-production of automated braking systems. We feel that this technology is too important to the success of the industry to limit its availability to a handful of select devices. We are racing against the clock to implement the safe hardware modifications for all automated braking systems.”

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3DEP Program Benefits

The USGS’ National Geospatial Program is in year one of an 8-year program to create the first publicly available, national 3D elevation map using lidar. Called the 3D Elevation Program or 3DEP, it is a collaboration of federal agencies, states, territories, local governments, and private industries. 3DEP is systematically collecting lidar data across the country and leveraging existing lidar surveys into a central collection. The program established data quality standards and is now acquiring new lidar data to fill crucial gaps.

In one example, a fault was identified from the bare earth model as being active when it was previously thought to be inactive. This could have major implications for 150,000 people that inhabit the Bitterroot valley in Montana.

It is imperative that we all do what we can to support the 3DEP program whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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FARO Announces Under $25k Scanner

Things are heating up in the 3D laser scanning community to the benefit of all. FARO has just announced the FARO Focus(M) 70 priced at under $25,000. It is targeted at the construction world and public safety forensics.

At 70 meters the accuracy is stated to be +/- 3 mm. The Focus(M) 70 is designed for both indoor and outdoor use with an Ingress Protection of 54 for use in high particulate and wet conditions. The scanner is available for purchase.

2017 should be very interesting as we see the democratization of laser scanning taking place around the world.

You can sign up for a demo here.

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ILMF 2017 Keynotes Announced

ILMF 2017 which takes place in Denver February 13 – 15 has announced an outstanding group of keynote speakers:

LARRY MAYER, Professor and Director, School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire

Keynote: Challenges of Mapping the Deep Ocean: If Only Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Worked in 10,000m of Water

TIMOTHY TRAINOR, Co-Chair, United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management; Chief of Geography Division, US Census Bureau
Keynote: Role of Technology and Geospatial Information Toward Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals

ROY E WRIGHT, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, FEMA
Keynote: What FEMA Seeks from Geospatial Information: Risk Management, Risk Reduction

DR. ERIC E. POEHLER, Associate Professor of Classics and Co-Director, UMass Digital Humanities Initiative; University of Massachusetts Amherst
Keynote: Mapping Pompeii: New Discoveries with New Technologies

“We’re honored to have such a stellar lineup to kick off the ILMF conference,” said Lisa Murray, Event Director. “These keynotes demonstrate the incredible breadth of uses for LiDAR technology—from mapping the ocean floor to mapping the ancient city of Pompeii, to using LiDAR for global sustainable development and for risk management and reduction.”

Combine this with over 60 papers and ILMF 2017 is a must attend event if you are involved with 3D laser mapping.

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