On a slow news day I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on what I think is the incredible diversity of applications where LiDAR is disrupting the status quo. From the well established “scan to BIM”, to the use of LiDAR to better understand wildlife habitat, to the use of mobile LiDAR to help city inspectors identify code violations to 3D agriculture LiDAR is changing the core workflows of any industry where measurement of the real world creates value.
And it’s not just for the immediate need, but in one article I recently reviewed for an upcoming LiDAR News magazine issue the use of LiDAR to improve the reliability of Angola’s electrical power transmission lines was cited as critical to the future of the country. The impact of LiDAR is being seen worldwide. Perhaps it will have even more impact in developing countries as they jump from pencil and paper to 3D.
I have compared LiDAR to GPS many times, but I am now convinced that the impact of LiDAR will be much greater than GPS. This is sea change. If you are not involved with this technology you are taking a big risk.
Here in the U.S. there is a long running TV series on restoring houses called “This Old House”. My brother saw a recent episode where they used laser scanning and 3D printing to recreate a plaster medallion for a project they are working on. Yet another example of the mass market appeal of our 3D technology.
Thanks for the tip bro.
The FAA has appealed the decision reported yesterday which said they do not have jurisdiction over commercial UAVs. This stays the decision until the appeal is heard so the ban remains in effect.
On a different note, Montana State University has announced that they are going to be offering a new Master’s Degree in laser and imaging optics beginning this Fall.
More than 15 years ago, MSU decided to pursue opportunities in lasers and optics with strategic investments. Aided by a National Science Foundation grant, the university built a significant program in laser optics at MSU through strategic hiring. Additionally, the university founded the Optical Technology Center, or OpTeC, as an interdisciplinary research and education center. OpTeC hosts annual meetings where industry and university researchers share ideas.
Kudos to all involved for making that happen.
Another thanks to long term colleague Adena Schutzberg for her post. Turns out, just as was noted in an earlier blog this week that there are no laws currently on the books granting the FAA jurisdiction over commercial UAVs.
The case of Pirker v. Huerta, involved Swiss drone pilot who filmed a commercial in Virginia and was fined $10,000 by the FAA. The pilot was the only person the FAA has fined and Pirker fought back. The judge dismissed the FAA’s fine.
This to me is not necessarily good news. I do think the commercial use of UAVs needs to be regulated, but I don’t think it should take years to develop the regulations. That is unacceptable. As former Secretary of Transportation, I think it was Pena, once explained to his staff, “It takes 9 months to develop the most precious thing in the world. Everything else should take less time.” Or something like that.
There is a new kid on the block. David Christian informs me that he has created the LiDAR Forum.
David will be supplying a more detailed discussion of his intent and motivation for an upcoming LiDAR News eNewsletter, but for now he says, “I am a forestry professional living in British Columbia, Canada. Lidar has become a topic for discussion. I have taken it upon myself to develop a Lidar community forum for industry members to share ideas and easily have their questions answered.”
Perhaps we can all take a minute to visit the site and thank David for putting in the work to develop this. Congratulations David.
An episode of the BBC National Geographic Time Scanners series is now available on You Tube. Quite a plug for our industry. Enjoy.
It seems that there is a difference of a opinion when it comes to whether the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) here in the U.S. has jurisdiction over unmanned aerial systems. According to a recent post from Adena Schutzberg there are some people who think that they do not.
Peter Sachs in the Drone Law Journal states, “On February 26, 2014, the FAA published on its website a document entitled, “Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft.” It purports to dispel “common myths,” and provide “corresponding facts.” It does neither. In fact, it’s no more than a rehash of what the FAA has been falsely claiming all along. It again cites no relevant federal statutes, federal regulations or case law to support its claims. Because there aren’t any.”
By the way, a similar argument has been made about autonomous cars.
Here’s a quick video from ETH, Zurich that explains in simple terms how a smart phone can be used as a scanner to capture 3D geometry. It’s actually quite amazing.
Thanks to Bill Gutelius from Active Imaging Systems for the tip.
As we all have been seeing and hearing the interest in unmanned aerial systems, or UAS is exploding. One of our regular contributors, Lewis Graham has predicted that the small UAS or sUAS is more likely to receive FAA approval here in the U.S. for a number of reasons including the relatively small consequences of failure.
If you are interested in this topic you may want to consider signing up for an informative eNewsletter – sUAS News. This reminds me of the early days of LiDAR News.
The current issue has a story on the use of sUASs in Queensland, New Zealand to assess post-earthquake building damage.
As a follow up to last week’s announcement on the Riegl RiALITY app Dennis Hirota sent me a link to a short video that his team developed to show us how the software could work – well done.
They note, “We created the RiALITY file from a larger set of 25 scan positions (8 scan positions, 93 millions points reduced to 2.4 million points) using the export of Riscan Pro 1.8.0 to generate the *.rqx files.”
Thanks Dennis and team for the quick response.