NASA RFI For Space Lidar

imagesNASA/ARC is interested in spaceflight-qualified LIDAR systems for planetary rover missions on the Moon. LIDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distance).

This RFI seeks information about LIDAR systems that may be delivered as soon as 2019 for lunar mission use. The LIDAR system must be small, lightweight, low-power, and able to acquire 3D measurements (i.e., not just linear or planar ranging) to support short-range surface navigation (hazard detection and localization).

The LIDAR system shall be capable of detecting natural terrain hazards, such as rocks, craters, and slopes. The LIDAR system shall also be capable of supporting relative localization, such as 3D feature detection and tracking.

There is a modification to the synopsis entitled PLANETARY ROVER NAVIGATION LIDAR – NNA15ZTI001L which was posted on June 19, 2015. The due date for responses is extended.

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Here Matters

hereIt looks like the big 3 German car companies are in the process of acquiring Nokia’s Here mapping service and as you can see in the adjacent photo that includes the use of lidar – derived imagery.

As reported in Popular Science, “A robust map data set is crucial to operating an autonomous car–if the car doesn’t know where to go, it can’t go anywhere. Nokia identified this early on, and has already used its LIDAR-equipped cars to create high-definition maps of certain roads and highways, accurate down to 20 centimeters, according to the company.”

Most people don’t realize that it takes this level of detail to support autonomous vehicles.

With this software and data, these automakers will be able to better compete in a market soon to be flooded with autonomous taxis by Uber and Google, and be able to offer comparable or premium autonomous driving products. Time will tell on that idea.

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BAA_FY15_Priorities_USIEI_tnThe USGS just announced the 3DEP program via a Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2015/16. The BAA provides detailed information on how to partner with the USGS and other Federal agencies to acquire high-quality 3D Elevation data. Information and contacts are now available at Fed Biz Opps (Search for Reference Number: G15PS00558) and (Funding Opportunity Number: G15AS00123).

Federal agencies, state and local governments, tribes, academic institutions and the private sector are eligible to submit pre-proposals.  Pre-proposals are due by 1:00PM ET, August 25, 2015. Full Proposals are due by 1:00PM ET, October 23, 2015

The BAA is a public process to develop partnerships for the collection of lidar and derived elevation data for 3DEP. The primary goal of 3DEP is to systematically collect nationwide lidar coverage (ifsar in Alaska) over an 8-year period to provide more than $690 million annually in new benefits to government entities, the private sector and citizens. 3DEP presents a unique opportunity for collaboration between all levels of government to leverage the services and expertise of private sector mapping firms that acquire the data, and to create jobs now and in the future. More information about 3DEP including updates on current and future 3DEP partnership opportunities is available online.

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New Lidar News Website

The transition is underway to provide readers with a new Lidar News website. In the meantime the Lidar News url ( will automatically redirect to this blog address. We apologize for any inconvenience and please let me know if you find any problems with the blog. My email remains


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DIY Laser Harp

Now this is definitely a different application  of laser distance measuring technology.

“To test our LIDAR-Lite laser telemeters, we have built an infra-red laser harp which sound a note depending on the measured distance. The sensors are read over IP using Yoctopuce modules. Design and software took just a few hours to create. More details on”

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USIBD Digital Reality Conference

USIBDLOGO-130x260_2The USIBD will be hosting an important building documentation conference September 16-17, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The theme “Where Technology Meets Business Reality” is an appropriate indicator of the practical, high value content and networking opportunities that this conference is likely to deliver.

You will hear QUICK FIRE sessions from others in the trenches on subjects like: Recognizing opportunities, Why your clients and competitors are doing it, What technology is coming up, Where to go for resources – just to name a few. Even the networking will provide tremendous opportunity to walk away with new alliances and trusted sounding boards.

Early bird registration ends July 31.

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Underwater Laser Scanning

3dOne of the leaders in underwater laser scanning is 3D at Depth. This press release provides an update on the successful advances being made with this sophisticated technology that was highlighted in a recent Lidar News magazine article.

Metrology surveys play a critical role in delivering first oil or renewed production from wells. With the theme of time is money on some campaigns, subsea LiDAR has removed weeks of project installation time over conventional acoustic methods giving high value across the chain for offshore Oil and Gas exploration and production.

In addition, there are large costs associated with conducting those surveys, especially considering vessel time and human resources. Metrologies are closely aligned with all aspects of subsea operations from exploration, production, maintenance and decommissioning. In this performance-intensive environment the value of successful metrology programs can positively affect operational efficiencies, mitigate risk and reduce environmental impacts.

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3D Site Security

safety_laser_scanner_s3000I have not seen much about the idea of using laser scanners for real time security, but in this article the author builds a case for the benefits of using 3D laser scanners for perimeter protection. Trygve Behny is a marketing manager for Sick, a laser scanner manufacturer based in Germany.

A couple of the interesting applications include a laser scanner integrated with auto-tracking cameras. In this case if an intrusion is detected, the camera will automatically follow the intruder as they move through the protected area, keeping the intruder in sight and allowing for more accurate identification of the threat.  Another frequent configuration is GPS mapping, which can be used to display and track the location of the threat on a building blueprint or property map using GPS coordinates.

The author claims that laser scanners can perform better than cameras in rain and snow which perhaps for security purposes is fine, but for higher accuracy apps this is not usually the case.

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Volcanic Ash Lidar Detection

airIn 2010 a volcano erupted in Greenland that resulted in massive disruption of the airspace over Europe. The UK is installing a system of atmospheric lidar sensors to address future eruptions.

“We’ve got three bands of ash – low, medium and high, which is defined by the amount of ash in the air – that defines where airlines can fly,” said Jonathan Nicholson of the Civil Aviation Authority.

“If the airline has arranged with us that they can fly in the low and medium bands, then they’re free to make their own choices. So we should see much less disruption with the same amount of ash as we saw during the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.”

Working out whether an ash cloud is low, medium or high is where the new government-funded network comes in. It will be made up of 10 instruments called Light Detection and Ranging Systems, or Lidar.

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24 Hours of Le Mans in 3D announced today it has signed an agreement with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to develop a digital version of the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit for its award-winning online motorsports simulation service. iRacing’s team of nearly a dozen laser scanning technicians, photographers and artists recently completed their data-gathering work in France prior to the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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