Geomatics Field Test Facility

One of the ideas that is coming from last week’s blog request for input on pressing geomatics industry research needs is an independent field test facility that could be the focal point for this entire effort. This facility could support both terrestrial and aerial sensor testing in a highly documented environment that would provide immediate feedback on the performance of the systems as well provide longer term data input to more generic problems that need to be solved more theoretically.

Please let me know what you think. With customer demand for this kind of testing I believe the vendors would be willing to make the investment.

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Making Effective Use of 3D Models

I am working on a project that raised the issue of how to make effective use of 3D models beyond design and construction. All of the point cloud processing software and now some of the CAD and GIS packages are working in 3D, but if the need is to support the long term operation and maintenance of a building or a highway there is a large void when it comes to asset management software that can make use of 3D design models.

Even more of a problem is the centralized database management system that would need to be in place for an organization to make effective use of this information for all of the potential uses. We are making progress on acquiring the data, but there is a lot of work to be done to make it useful after the construction is completed.

Posted in 3D Modeling | 2 Comments

Handheld Scanner Supports Forest Applications

3DLM_Scion_ZEB1_GEONew Zealand foresters are using the ZEB1 handheld laser scanner to capture 3D data for forest applications. The team at Scion, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute (CRI), required a practical means for accurately locating and measuring individual trees on the ground. Using the ZEB1 they achieved significant advantages in speed of data capture, quality of the resulting point cloud and ease of use of the system.

“Traditionally poor GPS under forest cover makes identifying trees a problem,” commented David Pont of Scion, an award winning scientist who specialises in world leading research to identify individual trees from remotely sensed aerial LiDAR. “The ability of the ZEB1 to provide the position for spatial locations using SLAM technology – specifically developed for mapping of areas with no GPS – was therefore of immediate interest to us.”

Thanks to Bill Gutelius for the heads up.

Posted in Forestry, Mapping, remote sensing, Research | Leave a comment

Beneath the Surface of Stonehenge

A recent report by the BBC indicates that recent subsurface surveys of the area surrounding Stonehenge have revealed an amazing amount of new 3D data. Using ground penetrating radar, magnetometers and laser scanners the researchers have developed a whole new perspective on this historical site.

Early results suggest that the iconic monument did not stand alone, but was accompanied by 17 neighbouring shrines.

Future, detailed analysis of this vast collection of data will produce a brand new account of how Stonehenge’s landscape evolved over time.

Among the surprises yielded by the research are traces of up to 60 huge stones or pillars which formed part of the 1.5km-wide “super henge” previously identified at nearby Durrington Walls.

Thanks to Dr. Meg Watters for the tip.

Posted in 3D Modeling, cultural heritage, Historic Preservation, remote sensing, Research | Leave a comment

Applied Research Topics in Geomatics Wanted

I am looking for your input on the most important applied research topics facing the geomatics profession/industry today. These are problems that you regularly encounter for which there really isn’t an elegant solution.

To get your thought process started I believe many of these involve the transition from 2D workflows to 3D and from analogue to digital project delivery.

Perhaps we should promote this via a contest format. At the very least I will publish the topics that are submitted so that people can vote on their favorites. Please let me know what you think.

It’s not Dancing with the Stars, or The Voice, but it’s the best I got.

Posted in Research, Standards, Technology, The Industry | 6 Comments

FARO 3D Documentation Conference 2014

FARO will be hosting their 2014 3D Documentation Conference at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Convention Center in Orlando, Florida October 13 – 15. This focused (no pun intended) event provides the opportunity to interact with all of the key members of the FARO team. It’s a very relaxed event.

The agenda is a mix of presentations and breakout sessions. There are numerous tracks including accident reconstruction, AEC, 3D printing, software and more. The presentations include the use of laser scanning in the film industry and the historic preservation of Cape Canaveral.

I hope to see you there.

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LiDAR, Lidar, LIDAR, or…

It came as a wake-up call to me when I received two articles proposing that we agree to use lidar, as we do with sonar and radar as the proper spelling. Although the two authors use a totally different approach they come to the same conclusion. I think we should agree it should be lidar.

Now this is just one of the thought provoking topics in the just published LiDAR News Magazine and eNewsletter. You can experience the thrill of seeing massive caves in China and Australia, learn about the first FAA-approved UAS flight over land and increase your 3D technical knowledge in airborne lidar and building documentation .

Thank you for your ongoing support. Please let me know if you have an idea for an article and please help us to build this community by telling a colleague.

Posted in Education, Marketing, The Industry | 7 Comments

CyArk 500 Annual Summit 2014

CyArk will be hosting an Annual Summit on their efforts to scan and digitally preserve the 500 most important cultural heritage sites around the world. The event will be held in Washington, D.C. on October 7 and 8 at the National Archives.

As part of the CyArk 500 Challenge, the CyArk 500 Annual Summit brings together cultural heritage, technology, and philanthropy leaders from around the world to share experiences and best methods for capturing, disseminating and archiving information about heritage sites, particularly those at risk.

I hope to see many of you there.

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Map World’s Rainforests for Under $250 Million

1024_CAO_imagery_Peru-7In case you have an extra $250 million going unused a group of research scientists believes they could map the world’s rainforests in 3D with high definition lidar by 2020. That is actually a small investment when one considers the potential  return and the projects that receive hundreds of millions of government funding that produce far less.

The commentary, authored by a group of prominent scientists from several institutions, reviews recent progress in applying laser ranging technology (LiDAR) to forest mapping and lays out a case for a global campaign to survey the world’s forests in support of REDD+, a program that aims to compensate tropical countries for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. These sources account for roughly 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

All we need is leadership, but sadly that is hard to find.

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

Using MMS to Analyze Pavement Condition

A group of Japanese researchers initially attempted to use mobile lidar to visually assess highway pavement condition, but were not successful. In a follow on project they evaluated surface conditions by using colored point clouds that had been assigned values of 8-bit RGB color to map the values of the surface normal and the curvature in a point cloud.

This method generated point clouds that successfully enabled the group to distinguish between good and bad road surface conditions. Their results indicated the importance of selecting optimal values for the radius of the point cloud in calculating curvature.

Posted in Mobile LiDAR, remote sensing, Research | Leave a comment