Scanning vs. Photography

indexAs I noted in a recent post Christoph Strecca, the CEO of Pix4D has been making a strong case that photography has a number of advantages when compared to the use of lidar, particularly when your platform is a small UAS. He has the facts to back it up.

In this project he teamed with a local university to scan the famous 30-metre tall statue of Christ The Redeemer, overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The team collected 3,584 photos over six consecutive days with the Aeryon Scout, a quadcopter UAS. For some reason they chose not to include any images in the article – strange.

Given the unique challenges of this project photography was the clear choice and I think we are going to see more uses of this approach to “fill in” those hard to access areas and projects. It should be just another tool in the toolbox.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Autonomous vehicles, cultural heritage, Historic Preservation, UAVs | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

UAS Supports Anti-Poaching Efforts

As an integral part of the current strategy to combat rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, SANParks is in a process of applying and evaluating various technologies which include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). “This aims at investigating the effectiveness of various UAV technologies as instruments in rhino protection efforts under a range of operational conditions”, according to Mr Dlamini, the UAV project will run for a full year.

On a related topic Air Shepherd, a new initiative of the Lindbergh Foundation, is using sophisticated technology to protect the environment. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) or drones, are successfully stopping the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa. They are deployed with advanced infrared surveillance systems and supercomputer-based predictive analytic technology developed at the University of Maryland.

Air Shepherd aims to raise $500,000 via crowdfunding to fully implement the program for one year at Kruger National Park with expansion planned over the next year to seven additional African countries.

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Amazon Granted FAA Approval

Reuters reports that the FAA has granted Amazon an experimental airworthiness certificate to fly its prototype drone, allowing test flights over private, rural land in Washington state. Amazon must keep flights below 400 feet and keep the drone in sight, according to the FAA. The drone operators must have a private pilot licenses and current medical certification. Amazon must supply monthly data to the regulators.

As part of Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ plan to deliver packages under a program dubbed “Prime Air,” the company is developing drones that fly at speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kph), operate autonomously and sense and avoid objects. Amazon also is working with NASA on an air-traffic management system for drones.

I guess you have to start someplace.


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Identifying Tree Crowns

In this research report the authors explain their methodology for identifying individual tree crowns using the topology of the forest. The proposed approach captures the topological structure of the forest in hierarchical data structures, quantifies topological relationships of tree crown components in a weighted graph, and finally partitions the graph to separate individual tree crowns.

More than introducing a segmentation algorithm, this paper proposes a powerful framework featuring flexibility to support a series of segmentation methods including some of those recurring in the tree segmentation literature. The segmentation method may extend its applications to any data of topological nature or data that has a topological equivalent.

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Geiger-mode Webinar

The Harris Corporation is sponsoring a webinar on Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 1 PM EDT.

Mark Romano, with nearly 30 years of lidar industry experience will provide you with an important introduction to this exciting service offering. Register now so that you can understand the implications of this breakthrough technology.

Posted in airborne LiDAR, Education, remote sensing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Lidar Used to Measure Melting Ice Sheets

Lidar is just one of the remote sensing techniques being used to measure Antarctica’s rapidly melting ice sheets and the news just got worse. The researchers used three separate types of measurements taken during their flights — gravitational measurements, radar and laser altimetry — to get a glimpse of what might be happening beneath the massive glacier, whose ice shelves are more than 1,600 feet thick in places.

According to this article in the Washington Post, “A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise.”

“For residents of the United States — and indeed, the entire Northern Hemisphere — the impact of major ice loss from Antarctica could be dire. If Antarctica loses volumes of ice that would translate into major contributions to sea level rise, that rise would not be distributed evenly around the globe. The reason is the force of gravity. Antarctica is so massive that it pulls the ocean toward it, but if it loses ice, that gravitational pull will relax, and the ocean will slosh back toward the Northern Hemisphere — which will experience additional sea level rise.”

Thanks to Bill Gutelius for this factual information.

Posted in airborne LiDAR, Environmental, remote sensing, Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

3,500 Miles – Autonomously

According this article Delphi Automotive is preparing a lidar-equiped test vehicle for a 3,500 mile cross country journey that is intended to be done without the assistance of a driver, unless needed in an emergency.

Delphi plans to show off one of several versions of the car — an Audi Q5 crossover outfitted with laser sensors, radar and multiple cameras — on Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The official car will start its journey March 22 in San Francisco and arrive in New York a little more than a week later.

“Fully autonomous driving could come over the next decade or two,” Jeff Owens, Delphi CTO said. Driverless cars are even further away. But in the meantime, Delphi sees autonomous features, like pedestrian detection or vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems, as a way to drastically cut the number of traffic deaths worldwide.

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FARO Launches AEC Website

FARO is targeting the AEC Market with a new focused website. The marketing message says,

“In a time when project bidding is extremely competitive, companies need to differentiate themselves in order to win new contracts. Having the latest technologies is critical to a winning formula. As the cost of laser scanners becomes more affordable, engineering and construction firms are progressively investing in 3D laser scanning.”

The new AEC site features videos, webinars, white papers and much more.

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L is for Lidar

As Graham Edwards notes in this insightful  article making movies has always been about data capture. Turns out the use of lidar on a movie set is now becoming commonplace.

Graham notes, “If you read behind-the-scenes articles about film production, you’ll probably know that lidar scanners are regularly used to make 3D digital models of sets or locations. The word has even become a verb, as in, “We lidared the castle exterior.” Like all the other forms of data capture, lidar is everywhere.”

The entertainment industry has long been the driver of high tech innovation. Looks like that is continuing with lidar.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Consumer, Entertainment | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Structure Scanner for the Masses

Bill Gutelius noted that he had not checked up on the Structure Sensor in quite some time. He took another look recently and was very impressed with how far they have taken the concept.The Structure Sensor clips onto the iPad or other mobile devices enabling 3D data capture. It’s that simple.

Bill noted, “They are pushing it towards several very different application spaces. I think that this type of scanner (think Tango, DPI-7, etc.) will become the ‘scanner for the masses’.”

Take  a look at the video.


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