While all the headlines coming from Washington these days are focused on taxes there is also an important bill working its way through both houses that affects the geospatial industry.
The purpose of the Geospatial Data Act (S. 1253 and. H.R. 3522) is “to improve the coordination and use of geospatial data.” According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress, the bill is intended for “the development, implementation, and review of policies, practices, and standards relating to geospatial data” and to “ensure that geospatial data (National Spatial Data Infrastructure, (NSDI)) from multiple sources is available and easily integrated to enhance the understanding of the physical and cultural world”.
The bill recognizes the important role the private sector plays in geospatial data in several provisions. It seeks greater transparency in government geospatial activities, including the disclosure of certain information. The CRS analysis says “agencies whose functions involve geospatial data shall implement a strategy for advancing geographic information and related geospatial data activities appropriate to that agency’s mission in support of the strategic plan for the infrastructure. Such agencies shall disclose each contract, cooperative agreement, grant, or other transaction that deals with geospatial data.
Procurement, or contracting with the private sector, is inherent to the Geospatial Data Act and its goal of making the NSDI a success. The carefully crafted legislation addresses a variety of challenges, components and stakeholders in geospatial data and the NSDI, both governmental (Federal, state and local) and the private sector. Provisions that assure quality in the procurement of the collection and acquisition of geospatial data are integral to the overall goals and objectives of the legislation. As introduced, S. 1253 and H.R. 3522 provide that contacting for such geospatial data services are based on demonstrated competence and qualifications of competing firms. Such quality is essential to the success of government programs and activities that are dependent on reliable, accurate, and professionally acquired data and services. Moreover, the bills include a provision to preserve and comply with existing law that protects public health, welfare and safety.
Organizations including ASCE and NSPS support the Geospatial Data Act as introduced and are resisting efforts by other organizations to weaken these important provisions.
In a move to support their vertical business growth strategy FARO® (NASDAQ: FARO) recently announced the acquisition of Dustin Forensics, a digital forensic animation firm based in Adairsville, Georgia with international experience.
Dustin Forensics has been led by David Dustin, an innovator in 3D crime and accident scene reconstruction and a pioneer in the legitimatization and admissibility of 3D data as an accepted courtroom tool. David will be taking on the newly created role of Director of Public Safety – Forensics Services.
“We are excited to have Dustin Forensics join the FARO family,” stated Jeff Ruiz, Vice President of Public Safety – Forensics. “Their real world expertise will not only strengthen the FARO service portfolio but also extend our reach into the broader markets of public and corporate security where there are significant opportunities to deliver comprehensive 3D scanning services for pre-incident planning, proactive threat assessments, and soft target protection.”
LeddarTech claims that the LeddarCore LCA2 is the world’s first LiDAR integrated circuit (IC) enabling rapid high-volume deployment of solid-state 3D LiDARs that meet the automotive industry’s stringent performance, cost and reliability requirements.
By integrating a powerful, proven, discrete solid-state LiDAR (SSL) technology into low-cost ICs, the LeddarCore LCA2 solves one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: enabling rapid, large-scale production of automotive-grade SSLs at an affordable price for commercial deployment in mass-market vehicles.
“The LeddarCore LCA2 truly is a breakthrough innovation that brings LiDAR technology to the mass markets. The LCA2 delivers unique added value, reduces inherent risks at all levels of the value chain, and accelerates the path toward commercial deployments of semi- and fully autonomous driving solutions,” said Charles Boulanger, LeddarTech’s CEO. “These two CES awards are an acknowledgement of our technology excellence and LeddarCore IC business model geared toward mass production of SSL sensors by Tier-1 manufacturers for deployment by automotive OEMs as early as 2020,” he adds.
WWF-UK has compiled easy-to-read guidelines related to the practical use of LiDAR remote sensing in conservation and ecological research. The main argument behind creating these guidelines was that as vegetation and terrain structure has been known to determine habitat quality, lidar could/should be used more widely in these disciplines as it provides data about this structure on a sub-meter scale. Especially since nowadays numerous countries are making their nationwide lidar datasets open-access.
In a nutshell, the guidelines introduce lidar, help one decide if it is right for their needs and then provide key information needed when using it: programs to use, what have other people done with it, where to get data etc.. All the material is found from the newly launched webpages:
that provide basic information on each of the conservation technologies (lidar, camera trapping, acoustic monitoring). The FAQ is most suited for those who are new to the technology and interested in learning whether it might be suitable for their needs.
Velodyne has just announced an important new sensor – the VLS – 128 and as you can see from the photo it represents a major improvement to the original HDL – 64 form factor. Not only is it smaller and lighter, Velodyne claims that it has the world’s best resolution, longest range, and widest field of view. All of this aimed at meeting the demands of the driverless vehicle market for better information needed to support highway speeds.
The VLS-128 is being produced in Velodynes’s new Megafactory using a proprietary fully automatic laser alignment and manufacturing system. This is resulting in drastic reductions in cost. President Marta Hall adds, “We are getting the cost down. It is already dramatically reduced, and more so when ordered at higher volumes. Into the future, LiDAR will be affordable and put on cars worldwide for safety and autonomy.”
As the new Ford commercials claim, “The new F-150 doesn’t raise the bar, it is the bar.” It’s an impressive accomplishment.
Unlike many technical markets, such as the lidar and laser scanning industry there is good news when it comes to a standard for describing levels of driving automation. The consumer markets have learned that developing and agreeing on standards, especially in emerging industries will benefit all parties and lead to increased productivity.
Knightscope is utilizing lidar to guide its autonomous security robots. Knightscope’s long-term vision is to predict and prevent crime utilizing autonomous robots, analytics and engagement.
Crime has a $1+ trillion negative economic impact on the U.S. economy every year and Knightscope is on a mission to cut that in half.
Founded in April 2013 in Silicon Valley, Knightscope is a leader in developing autonomous physical security solutions. The Knightscope “Hardware + Software + Humans” approach reduces costs for their clients, provides a 24/7 force multiplier effect as well as advanced anomaly detection capabilities.
Knightscope’s solution includes providing an autonomous physical presence, gathering data from the environment in real-time, and pushing anomalies to our user interface, the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC).
There is not a lot of detail on the actual use of lidar on their website, but I am sure you will begin to see the use of these devices.
The 2017 USIBD Symposium is being held next week November 6 – 8 in conjunction with the BIM Forum in Dallas, TX. Here are some of the presentations:
• “New and Exciting Methods for Documenting & Analyzing Buildings”, Philip Lorenzo, Struction Site
• “Evil BIM” vs. “Smart Lean BIM”, Clive Jordan, LOD Planner
• “AR/VR”, Danielle Dy Buncio, VIATechnik, LLC
• “Tool or Toy? Where does Reality Capture Become ‘Real'”, Cindy Baldwin, VDCO Tech, Inc.
• “Finding and Retaining Reality Capture Talent”, Sam Billingsly, Ragan-Smith Associates
• “Scanner Shoot-out”, Andy Holroyd, HTS Advanced Solutions & Michael Raphael, Direct Dimensions
• “Intent Defines Process: use the right process for the project”, Joseph P. Romano, Langan
• “Scanning 101: Scan School”, Ken Smerz and Ted Mort of Eco3D
• “LOA V.3.0 Training”, John M. Russo, AIA ARC, and Kevin Kianka, HAAG 3D Solutions
Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) Argo AI unit, which develops software for self-driving vehicles, is buying Princeton Lightwave in a move that will certainly strengthen the team’s intellectual property, particularly when it comes to Geiger-mode lidar. It will be very interesting to see how this technology will be leveraged in the autonomous vehicle market.
Announcing the Princeton Lightwave acquisition in a blog post on Friday morning, Argo Chief Executive Officer Bryan Salesky said his company “won’t be able to build” self-driving cars without lidar.
The deal comes more than a year after Ford’s $75 million investment in Velodyne, a better-known lidar startup whose sensor technology is still considered too expensive.
Founded in 2000, New Jersey-based Princeton Lightwave is one of more than 20 global manufacturers of lidar.