Camera with Lidar

MDL_toyota_safety_sense_2_en-onlineDataWhile the geomatics industry has been focused on high end laser scanners, with the   exception of Velodyne, although I don’t think they are anwhere near the price point of this new Multi Function Camera from Continental. As I have noted many times this is the same pattern that we saw with GPS.

CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) cameras are already used for categorizing objects in front of a vehicle. However, by itself, a CMOS camera cannot always provide sufficiently reliable information for initiating automatic emergency braking.

Continental is combining the passive sensor technology with an infrared Lidar in the Multi Function Camera with Lidar. The Lidar sensor transmits three pulsed infrared beams with a 905nm wavelength and measures the time-of-flight until the reflected beams reach the receiving optics.

The sensor monitors a distance of more than ten meters in front of the vehicle, which classifies it as a short-range Lidar system. From the speed of light and the time-of-flight, the Multi Function Camera with Lidar is able to calculate the distance to the object to an accuracy of up to ten centimeters. In conjunction with the CMOS camera, the sensor module now provides a robust means of object categorization and reliability.

With tight cost restrictions in mind, particularly as regards compact vehicles, the Multi Function Camera with Lidar module has been made scalable. Depending on the application, the computing capacity can be adjusted to three different comprehensive levels. In all three variants, the MFL always provides robust and reliable data on which to base the decision to initiate automatic emergency braking – and does so in the smallest space. In addition to Lane Departure Alert (LDA) which is available in Toyota Safety Sense C package, other ADAS functions such as Lane Keeping Support (LKS) and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) can be installed as additional optional vehicle equipment with the same sensor module.

As I have noted many times this is the same pattern that we saw with GPS. Don’t look now soccer moms you might get “lidared”.

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Change is in the Air

cropped-uasreno_2015_logo1Time is running out for you to make plans to attend the ASPRS’s UAS Technical Demonstration and Symposium in Reno, NV September 29 and 30. Last year’s inaugural event was a big success and with the program this year including test flights, UAS data processing, and workshops you don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from the industry leaders.

It looks like the test flights and data processing workshops will begin on September  26 and extend to October 1 so make your plans accordingly. Jonathon Edwards from Skyward will provide the keynote.

I hope to see you there.


Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, Conferences, Education, Government, Orgs, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

FAA UAS Crackdown

Trimble_UX5For all those people who are taking the risk of  flying a UAS without the proper FAA approval please note the following:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced on its website that it was stepping up enforcement actions against individuals and organizations that operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, without proper authorization. According to the FAA website, unauthorized drone operators may be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in jail. The FAA claims to have levied civil penalties for unauthorized flights, and states that there are a dozen open enforcement cases.

The timing of the FAA’s announcement suggests that it is in response to a rapid increase in reports by pilots that UAS are flying close to manned aircraft. In addition, last month a drone sighting forced firefighters in California to ground aircraft that were intended to help fight wild fires.

The FAA is encouraging the public to report unauthorized drone operations to local law enforcement. Earlier this year, the FAA issued guidance to local law enforcement on applicable laws and policies as well as actions that law enforcement can take in the event of unauthorized drone operations.

In light of the FAA’s announcement, companies that have received a Section 333 Exemption should take proper steps to comply with the applicable conditions and limitations. Businesses that are operating drones for commercial purposes without a Section 333 Exemption may wish to reconsider the risks of being identified by the FAA, the general public, law enforcement and potential competitors that already have received a Section 333 Exemption.

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OGC Point Cloud Working Group Meeting

ogcThe first meeting of the previously announced OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) Point Cloud domain working group (DWG) will be held during the Fall OGC technical meeting in Nottingham, UK September 14 -18.

The newly formed Point Cloud DWG will have its first official meeting on Tuesday, September 15 @ 15:15.  There will also be remote GoToMeeting information for this soon.

There is a call for presentations in this DWG.  They already have a couple of agenda items as follows:

  • Review the Charter (edits and corrections, additional charter members, etc.)   Stan Tillman, Intergraph
  • Election of chair(s)
  • Serving LiDAR thru existing OGC services

There has been a lot of interest in this group and what it will be doing – some of that interest coming from outside of OGC. It is important for ASTM E57 to be involved with this.


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Automated Pavement Data Collection

paveMichael Baker International claims their new mobile pavement data system is the first of its kind. The system combines the Pavemetrics pavement profiling solution with its existing mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) vehicle and Ground-Penetrating Radar systems.

The company can now deploy a fully equipped diagnostic vehicle that provides a turnkey, cost-effective approach to gathering pavement conditions. When mounted high on the vehicle, the Pavemetrics LCMS maps the whole width of the lane and eliminates the effect of vehicle wandering during data collection, ensuring more consistent and repeatable results year to year.

“With the combination of the Pavemetrics solution and mobile LiDAR, we’re collecting precise data and imagery of nearly all the assets along the roadway for a holistic approach to transportation asset management. Using LiDAR can also lead to greater safety on the road for motorists as well as our on-site employees,” said Robert Hanson, senior vice president and the firm’s Geospatial Practice leader.

I would like to see an independent test of this system.


Posted in Business Development, Ground penetrating radar, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Lidar Market Poised for High Growth

samAccording to this the report the global lidar market is poised for substantial growth – 15% CAGR. If you think you missed the boat you may want to read this.

U.S.-based market research firm Transparency Market Research (TMR) announces the release of a new market study.

The report is titled ‘LiDAR Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 – 2020’.The historical value of the global LiDAR market, taken in the base year 2013, was US$225 million. The market is expected to ride the rising wave of acceptance of LiDAR technology to expand to US$605.5 million by 2020.

Browse the full LiDAR Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 – 2020 report at

The prime growth driver for the global LiDAR market, as found by TMR experts, is the supreme sophistication it offers in terms of refinement in mapping.

This is a huge improvement over all conventional and presently used mapping technologies. Like any new technology, the LiDAR market is set for phenomenal growth, having overcome the primary hurdles of gaining the attention of the powers that be.

Posted in airborne LiDAR, bathymetric, Business Development, Hydrographic LiDAR, Mapping, Marketing, The Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Crime Scene Documentation

Associated Press Photo

Associated Press Photo

This article written from the end user perspective clearly explains the benefits of documenting a crime scene with 3D laser scanning.

When it comes time to collect evidence at the scene of a crime, Detective Joe Swenson said sometimes you don’t know what’s important until later.

“But, the scene is gone, cleaned up,” said Swenson, a crime scene detective with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit. “With this, I can go back to the scene anytime I want.”

“This” is a 3-D laser scanner that documents and measures everything within about a 400-foot radius from the scanner. By taking about 25 scans at each scene, Swenson is able to have an interactive picture of the scene at his fingertips.

“While I’m out at the crime scene doing my thing, other investigators are talking to suspects, witnesses or whoever … we have a lot of contact back and forth, but they’re learning things that I don’t know about,” he said. “There can always be things that I just don’t learn until later on.”

Swenson said the piece of equipment makes crime investigations more accurate.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Forensics, Government | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tree Map for Minnesota

mnEarthDefine, a provider of high-resolution spatial data products, has created a seamless tree canopy dataset that maps Minnesota’s trees in unprecedented detail. The Minnesota SpatialCover Tree Canopy dataset maps trees with 98% accuracy and 30 times the resolution of existing state level datasets for Minnesota. This 1-meter resolution dataset will enable users to accurately measure and understand tree cover at regional and local levels, especially in mixed urban and agricultural landscapes.

EarthDefine used multiple terabytes of color infrared imagery flown in the summer of 2013 along with three-dimensional point cloud data from LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) available for most of Minnesota to create the seamless tree cover dataset. The LIDAR data was also used to create a Canopy Height Model (CHM) dataset that maps canopy heights across 73 counties in the state.

That is impressive.

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ASPRS Launches New Lidar Certification

rocketThe American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) certification program announces the launch of a Professional and Technologist LIDAR Certification, the Certified Mapping Scientists, Lidar (CMS, Lidar) and the Certified Lidar Technologist (CLT).

The Certified Mapping Scientist, Lidar certification is described as: A professional involved in lidar systems design and/or systems application of data acquisition and computer programs that allow for the utilization of spatially referenced lidar point clouds for solving user needs and analysis requirements. Responsibilities of the applicant should include management and supervision leading to the integration of data needs and the development of correspondence among, and the utilization of, various spatial systems of often-different generic origins that are used to solve requirements.

The Certified Lidar Technologist certification is described as: A technician who performs routine Lidar collection support and first level data processing integrating established plans and procedures.

With this launch, the ASPRS education program expands to include nine certificate programs serving the geospatial industry. The esteemed ASPRS Certification program continues to offer the geospatial community the only accredited certifications in the industry, the program holds accreditation from the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB).

For more information and certification requirements for the Certified Mapping Scientist, Lidar and the Certified Lidar Technologist certification, please visit In addition, details on how to apply for ASPRS certifications may be found at

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ASTM E57 and OGC

The OGC and ASTM are discussing the possible synergy of working together on the following announcement:

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has established a Point Cloud Domain Working Group to assess the current state of standards and best practices in the management of point cloud data and to guide OGC activities in working with or developing standards for point cloud data interoperability, discovery, and dissemination.  Details on the Point Cloud Domain Working Group can be found at:  Interested parties can join the e-mail list at:

I hope some of you will join as this is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the standards work being done by these leading orgs.

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