ASPRS Announces Call for Abstracts

asprsThe ASPRS has just announced a Call for Abstracts for IGTF 2017 to be held in Baltimore, MD March 13 – 17, 2017.

They are seeking premier presentation and workshop submissions dealing with ASPRS core disciplines and their application in the collection, management, exploitation, and analysis of geospatial sources, data, and information. We are especially interested in contributions focused on the future and that provide a glimpse of innovation and technology on the horizon. Government agencies, private firms and university programs are greatly encouraged to submit an abstract on emerging application topics.

You do not need to be a member of ASPRS to submit an abstract.

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USIBD Announces Keynote Speaker

USIBD_BannerAd_250x250_75dpi-1The USIBD has just announced that the  BIM Facilities Manager for NASA’s Langley Research Center (LaRC), Errol Plata, will provide the keynote as part of the welcome reception for the 2016 Symposium.

Mr. Plata works on the Center Operations Directorate’s (COD) GIS Team where he manages the Center’s Revit Building Model inventory. He was hired to develop and implement a strategic BIM Plan for the NASA Langley Research Center LaRC. The Plan involves intuitive web based 3D viewers so everyone at LaRC from engineers to maintenance technicians can easily view the 3D building models, and easily find the assets that need maintenance. Mr. Plata will discuss using USIBD’s LOA on his team’s projects.

Congratulations to John Russo, founder and President of USIBD and all of the members for their hard work as they celebrate their 5th anniversary.



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3D Laser Scanning and Modeling Industry Survey

Chart 1-company growth expectationsClearEdge3D surveyed over 5,500 industry professionals worldwide and has produced a free report detailing their findings. The survey illuminates crucial industry data including average project profit margin, scanning/modeling best practices, profit margin degraders, hardware and software market share and more.

According to the survey, which was produced by industry newsletter Workflow 4.0, many firms are not only forecasting growth, but expect a substantial business expansion. 43% of respondents predict their work will increase between 21-100% within the next twelve months and 5.6% believe their business will double by next year

Another important finding of the survey reveals the biggest profit margin degraders for AEC firms as long modeling hours and inefficient data processing. Almost 60% of companies point to one of these as their greatest profit margin killer. However the survey notes that these are solvable problems and ranks software and hardware tools that help aid in creating workflow efficiency.

You can download a free copy of the report here.


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ILMF 2017 Call for Papers

ilmfThe organizers of the International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) have announced a Call for Papers for the 2017 event which will take place in Denver, Colorado, USA, February 13-15, 2017. The Call for Papers invites any interested parties to submit abstracts by the deadline of September 1, 2016 using the online submission form.

ILMF invites abstracts addressing the following topics.

  •  Data acquisition – airborne, mobile and bathymetric lidar
    •    Developments in lidar including Single Photon, FLASH and Geiger-mode.  Comparisons of lidar technologies.
    •    Applications/Integration of lidar, photogrammetry, survey data and dense image matching
    •    LIDAR point clouds & large data sets including automated feature extraction
    •    UAV/UAS developments & applications;  comparisons of manned versus sUAS
    •    Emerging technologies in remote sensing and mapping
    •    Data fusion and processing technologies
    •    Engineering collaboration systems and cloud-hosted data management
    •    Developments in point data classification and GIS modeling
    •    Mobile mapping and survey
    •    Systems integration
    •    Industry issues

The ILMF Advisory Board will review each abstract and the final program will be announced in November. Case studies and recent project examples presented by owner/operators are encouraged.

Additional information and the abstract submission form can be accessed here.




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sUAS Consumer Guide

ricopterResearchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have created a free, 50 page sUAS consumer guide for novice users.

They examined 12 popular consumer multirotor sUAS platforms, reviewing key areas of critical importance to users. These investigation areas, essential to understanding suitability of platforms, included system performance, quality of construction, ease of operation, cost, accuracy of advertised capability, and user support.

Definitely worth a look.

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USIBD 2016 Symposium

2016_Symposium_Landscape300pxwideThe USIBD is hosting their 2nd Annual Symposium, “Discovering the Built Environment” in Atlanta, GA October 16 and 17. The event features a day and a half with professionals in building documentation, for a series of quick-fire presentations, and a course in the use and best practices of USIBD’s Level of Accuracy (LOA) document.

The goal of the LOA Document Certification Program is to provide an overview, training, testing and certification of individuals with the LOA documents.  Individuals can then utilize this certification when discussing the LOA documents with clients and colleagues.  Individuals who pass the test will be certified based upon Version 2 of the document. 

The training will be on Sunday afternoon. There is no additional charge for this. The certification test (includes one retest) fee is $100.

Early registration ends August 31 for the Symposium.

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Tiny Lidar Sensor

lidar-dime-980x420As you can see in the image researchers at MIT and DARPA have developed a tiny solid state lidar sensor that is packed onto a single chip – incredible! This sensor is 1,000 times faster than a mechanical system and if mass produced they believe the cost could be in the $10 range.

Unfortunately, there is no information about when these sensors would be commercially available.

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Chris Hopkinson – Lidar Pioneer


Chris Hokinson, seen above shared this interesting article on his current use of lidar to better understand the the Northern Canadian landscape. Chris is one of the hands on, airborne lidar research pioneers.

Research chair Chris Hopkinson has been surveying the territory since 2000, and says a lot has changed since then, noting the high rate of permafrost thaw, the death of trees and changes to the ecosystem.

He says the new laser system is “much more sophisticated” than what they used in the past.

“It’s much higher resolution, much faster repetition rates, so we can make over a million measurements per second — so that’s kinda cool. But in addition, it captures data in three different dimensions,” Hopkinson said.

He said it’s a new way to monitor ecosystem health, so he’s calling it “ecosystem diagnostic imaging.”

“Putting these three wavelengths together allows us to kind of colourize the landscape, as we would with a photograph, except we see different things than a traditional photograph would see.”

The two-week mission will also bring the team to Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson, then they’ll return to Alberta to survey near Fort McMurray, Slave Lake and the Calgary area.


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White House to Promote UAS Industry

droneThis is really big news.

According to a White House press release dated August 2, 2016, “Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing new steps, sustained by public and private support, to promote the safe integration and innovative adoption of unmanned aircraft systems across the United States… Most notably, these announcements expand on the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s “Small UAS” rule announced earlier this summer to provide national guidelines for the operation of non-recreational unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds.”
Key actions include:
• $35 million in research funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the next five years to accelerate the understanding of how to intelligently and effectively design, control, and apply UAS to beneficial applications. This will include areas such as monitoring and inspection of physical infrastructure, smart disaster response, agricultural monitoring, the study of severe storms, and more;
• A broad range of actions by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to use UAS to support search and rescue operations, to augment manned aircraft operations, and improve government processes around technological adoption;
• A $5 million down-payment by the state of New York to support the growth of the emerging unmanned aircraft systems industry across New York; and
• A collective commitment made by UAS industry associations to implement a broad educational effort around privacy best practices for users of UAS technology, among other private-sector commitments to support UAS technologies.
With respect to expanding existing capabilities through enhanced technology and training, the press release notes that the “Department of the Interior (DOI) which manages one-fifth of all land in the United States, has used unmanned aircraft systems since 2009 to conduct wildlife and vegetation surveys, to protect endangered populations, perform archeological studies, assist in emergency response, conduct wildfire management on a 24-hour-a-day basis, and more.”
DOI commitments include:
• Using unmanned aircraft systems for search-and-rescue operations: DOI will develop and maintain a training program for the use of UAS in Search and Rescue (SAR) by October 2018. This program will allow DOI first responders to rapidly deploy unmanned aircraft technology in critical search-and-rescue situations.
• Developing UAS for augmenting manned aircraft missions: By December 2017, DOI will develop payloads that have traditionally been carried aboard manned aircraft for UAS. This will augment the manned aircraft fleet and result in cost-savings and reduced risk to departmental personnel.
• Rapidly prototyping and approval of new UAS payloads: DOI will develop a process for the rapid prototyping and approval of new UAS payloads for its fleet by January 2018.

This will allow for quick access to new sensor technology for users in the field as technology advances.
• Implementing rapid data processing capabilities: UAS-collected data often requires post-mission processing before it can be used directly by the end user.
• DOI will find innovative solutions for rapid processing of data into usable products for scientists, first responders, and land managers. By FY 2019, DOI will have in place procedures for rapid data processing of UAS-acquired data using the cloud. This will dramatically reduce the time needed to process imagery at a local office.
• Increasing data sharing of wildland fire locations: DOI will share near-realtime fire location information with the public by July 2017 as part of a multifaceted effort to prevent unauthorized drone incursions over active wildfires. Building upon DOI’s 2016 prototype wildland fire location data sharing initiative with three volunteer industry partners, this expanded data sharing initiative will further reduce the risk of drone incursions that jeopardize the safety of wildland firefighters.
For further reading, see:
OSTP Fact Sheet


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ZF Acquires Stake in Lidar Firm

6-sensor-fusion1-5c35ceabIn another example of the importance of lidar to the autonomous vehicle industry ZF (not be confused with Z+F) announced that they had acquired a a 40% stake in Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. The Hamburg-based company, which was founded in 2009, is a market leader in lidar technology and in developing environmental recognition software with a particular focus on applications for autonomous driving. Ibeo’s customers include several major global vehicle manufacturers.

“Lidar gives us access to a core technology for environmental and object recognition,” claims Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF’s chief executive officer, while explaining ZF’s investment in Ibeo. “Lidar expands our current sensor portfolio of radar and camera technologies, and moreover, Ibeo’s fusion of these three sensor technologies provides outstanding results in environmental awareness and forms the basis for autonomous driving.”

Together with ZF, Ibeo will make the next technological leap and a significant step for vehicle applications: The lidar generation developed in cooperation with ZF will reproduce a three-dimensional image of the environment without the rotating mirrors contained in current lidar systems. Thanks to solid state technology, lidar technology will become more compact and easier to integrate into the vehicle.

“Our central theme at ZF is “See — Think — Act,” a philosophy which highlights how we are equipping the vehicles of tomorrow with new senses and more intelligence. To achieve this, we are gradually filling in the remaining gaps in our technology portfolio,” explains ZF CEO Sommer regarding ZF’s participation in Ibeo. “With lidar technology and sensor fusion, we are able to strengthen the eyes and brain of future generations of vehicles and thus move a step closer to realizing the vision of accident-free driving.”

I like ZF’s tag line – “The Internet of Things, Intelligently Connected.”

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