Low Cost Centimeter Level GPS

This is not directly about laser scanning, but for many applications GPS (or GNSS) plays an important role in the overall workflow. It seems that a group of researchers at the University of Texas Austin have figured out a way to obtain centimeter level accuracy with a low cost modification to a cell phone.

The UT Austin team has created software over the past six years that uses sophisticated signal processing techniques to process the data from a smartphone GPS antenna and reduce the effect of multipath and other errors. The software currently runs on a separate computer from the smartphone, but one of the engineers says it would eventually run on the phone’s internal processor.

Thanks to Michael Raphael at Direct Dimensions for the tip.

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Lidar Study of Sequoias

sequoiaThe National Park Service has issued a RFP to leverage high-resolution hyperspectral and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data to map the effect of drought on giant sequoias asserts that certain radar and LiDAR technologies have a proven track record of “providing detailed information on the 3D structure of conifer and broadleaf forests in many research and applications projects.”

More specifically, NPS is looking for capable parties to provide aerial sensing platforms for collecting imagery of nearly 146,000 acres of giant sequoia groves during drought conditions.

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Snoopy Helps in Baltimore

Jeff Fagerman at Lidar USA donated the use of his mobile mapping system and sent Graham to help the City of Baltimore deal with the aftermath of the recent riots.

The ScanLook 2.0 system on the SUV, also called “Snoopy” because of its shape, employs a “GoLook” camera system that includes seven high-definition video cameras that record 360-degree views.

The technology has been in use since the mid-2000s by engineering firms, Graham says. This is the first time a LiDAR system has scanned riot damage, according to the Graham. After Hurricane Sandy, the company sent Snoopy into flooded New York subway tunnels attached to a work train to find structural damage.

Thanks to Jeff and his team for volunteering this support.

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Lidar Seminar

Olsen, Michael_180pxDr. Michael Olsen will be presenting the following seminar at Portland State University:

Friday Transportation Seminar: Lighten Everyone’s Load: LIDAR Applications to Support Engineers, Planners, Scientists and More

Friday, May 8, 2015 – 12:00pm

He will also be discussing the TRB Mobile Lidar Guidelines.

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China Wrap Up

The Riegl Lidar 2015 conference is wrapping up today in Guangzhou, China. If you have been following the posts you know that this has been a eye opening experience. China is at least five years behind the leaders in terms of adoption of lidar and laser scanning technology. If you can figure out how to do business in China, as Riegl has done the opportunities are incredible.

Many thanks and congratulations to all of the Riegl team for delivering on their promise and exceeding all expectations.

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Ten Years of Lidar in China

In his keynote at Riegl Lidar 2015 in China, Dr. Yanjing Liu 0f Five Star, a Riegl reseller provided a timeline of the key developments over the past 10 years concerning the introduction and use of lidar in China.

There was an early introduction of the technology including the first demonstration of a Riegl scanner in 2003, but as of 2005 there was basically no lidar experience or expertise in China. The first projects were met with wide doubt and when some of the earliest efforts resulted in failures those doubts were confirmed.

Over the past ten years the universities and research institutes have made great strides completing many cultural heritage, mapping and infrastructure projects. The Great Wall was scanned in 2006. On the mobile front there were issues with exporting IMUs to China.

Today the use of UAVs is HOT according to Dr. Liu, but he also says that China is still far behind other countries in southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

BTW the average income of a citizen is $80 per month.

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Riegl in China – Day 1

Last night we made the bus transfer to Guangzhou, China from HK. Let’s just say the border crossing was interesting. The hotel in Guangzhou is very nice. Except for all of the signage along the route you would think you were in an American city.

Today’s program features keynotes by Prof. Jun Li from Xiamen University, Lawrie Jordan from Esri and Dr. Riegl. There is also a keynote recapping 10 years of Lidar apps in China by Dr. Liu and a presentation by Andy Eavis on scanning the largest caves in the world.

In general the rest of the major product related presentations are the same as in HK. The rest of the technical program is a mix of Chinese presenters and Riegl staff. Tonight will feature a Business Dinner at the hotel.

I will report back on the top items.


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AUVSI announced this week that their conference will now be known as XPONENTIAL 2016. The event will be held May 2 – 5 in New Orleans. They believe we are at in inflection point in the industry that deserves this kind of change. AUVSI has been in business for over 40 years.

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Unmanned Laser Scanning Systems

jumboDuring the keynotes at Riegl Lidar 2015 the major emphasis was on ULS – Unmanned Laser Scanning systems. It is always best to be number 1 in your category and to insure that, sometimes you need to create a new category. The VUX-1 is now available in two new optimized models – the VUX-1HA for high accuracy and the VUX-1LR for long range. There are a number of companies that are incorporating the VUX-1 into their UAV platforms.

On the mobile front Riegl announced the VMQ-450 a single scanner system that will be more compact and economical.

Riegl continues to maintain their leadership role when it comes to technology with an impressive line-up of hardware, software and senior people.

The event itself is one of the best user conferences that I have ever attended. Congratulations to Johannes Riegl, Susan Licari and their team for what feels more like a guided tour at times than just another user conference. Last night we had an 11 course Chinese dinner at the Jumbo and tonight we are off to mainland China for two days.


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Day 1 of AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2015

Here is the link to the AUVSI 2015 show daily news magazine.

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