USGS to Host Briefing: Safer Communities, Stronger Economies – in 3D

For those readers who can make it to Washington, D.C. (it’s too bad this was not a webinar) the USGS will be hosting a congressional briefing on Friday, July 25, 2014 – 11:00 a.m EDT in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325.

They note, “Outdated and inconsistent elevation data cost lives and hinder prosperity across our Nation. A coordinated effort among Federal, State, local government and the private sector could meet our country’s needs for high-quality, 3D elevation data in just 8 years.”

The USGS is doing an excellent job of selling the benefits and value of LiDAR-derived 3D information. Hopefully the politicians will show up and listen.

Posted in airborne LiDAR, Government, Mapping, remote sensing | Leave a comment

Cost of LiDAR Sensors an Issue for Driverless Market

I was interviewed and quoted in this article published today in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Laser Eyes Pose Price Hurdle for Driverless Cars.” The online version requires a subscription to read the entire article. I am not sure about the print.

As I have said before with the car companies and the insurance industry in favor of driverless vehicles it is only a matter of time before we see this technology and we are not talking 10 to 15 years.


Posted in Autonomous vehicles, Sensors | 1 Comment

BIM Social Network

The BIM Hub is a new website that is labeled as being in beta, but so far it seems very impressive. This is their pitch – “The company has pioneered the first web-based portal that brings BIM professionals together, encouraging the definition, adoption and understanding of BIM.”

Posted in 3D Modeling, BIM, Business Development, Education | Leave a comment

University of Michigan 3D Museum

As you can see in the video the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology is heavily involved in the use of 3D data capture. Thanks to Michael Raphael at Direct Dimensions for the info.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Consumer, cultural heritage, Historic Preservation | Leave a comment

Obama Recommends Use of 3-D Maps

As reported in USA Today the Obama administration unveiled initiatives this past week that include 3-dimensional mapping to better identify flood risks, landslide hazards and coastal erosion.

“It gives us a 3-D picture. That’s what makes lidar a game-changing technology,” says Vicki Lukas, USGS’ chief of topographic data services team. She says USGS has contracted with private firms to develop lidar since the 1990s but now aims to collect consistent, higher-quality data from all 50 states. She says it will use a different technology for Alaska, because cloud coverage and remote areas have limited lidar data there.

The U.S. Geological Survey is launching a $13 million 3-D Elevation Program (3DEP)to develop advanced mapping that it says could, among other things, make it quicker to update flood maps and easier to find ideal sites for wind turbines and solar panels.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Government, Mapping | Leave a comment

NASA to Launch New LiDAR to Probe Ocean Ecology

NASA announced a new combined ship/aircraft field campaign that they are launching today that will use a prototype lidar to measure microscopic phytoplankton in the ocean, down to 160 feet below the surface. The lidar will be flown on NASA Langley Research Center’s B-200, along with other instruments, as the plane overflies the track of an NSF research vessel with a suite of complementary instruments.

This is all in service of ultimately improving our ability to measure phytoplankton from space — the only way to get a true global picture of this key marine resource.


Posted in airborne LiDAR, remote sensing, Research, Sensors | Leave a comment

Colorado County Obtains COA to Fly UAS

There is encouraging news from Trimble on the UAS front. The Mesa County, Colorado Department of Public Works has obtained a Certificate of Operation (COA) from the FAA to fly a UAS for the purpose of mapping and surveying. Turns out the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, who manages the county’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations has been flying systems since 2008.

This COA is an authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowing the operation of an unmanned aircraft in a designated area and not for commercial use.

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Velodyne Debuts New LiDAR Sensor

puckVelodyne showed what it is calling the “LiDAR Puck (VLP-16)” for the first time yesterday at AVUSI Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco. The prototype sensor with 16 laser/detector pairs rotating 360 degree was showing real-time 3d measurements on VeloView. It is  half the size and about 2/3 of the weight of the HDL-32E and will be attractively priced according to Wolfgang Juchmann.

The unit is between 3 and 4 inches in diameter, slightly wider than the HDL-32, and a little over 2 inches tall.  According to Ray Mandli it seems to be pretty functional for an early prototype.  Thanks for the tip Ray.

Velodyne continues to be the innovation leader in this space.

Posted in Business Development, Research, Sensors | 1 Comment

Time Scanners: Petra

The PBS Time Scanners series moves to Petra this week – incredible scenery. Consult your local PBS station for the time in your area.

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Tracking Satellites with LiDAR

To accurately track a satellite requires the ability to measure time to the nearest pico second. That’s 1o to the minus 12. This results in sub-centimeter positional accuracy. Eventech, a Latvian company has 50% of the world market for this application, but it turns out that is still not enough to build a profitable business so the company has been looking for other applications.

One that they have identified as needing this kind of accurate time measurement is LiDAR. Turns out the R&D is well on its way; the Eventech LIDAR application has already been licensed as Spatial Initiatives, which is now working on a proof-of-concept and a prototype to be ready for market entrance.

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