POLAR I is Increasing Scan Accuracy by 1,000X

Alan Bologlu, the CEO of POLAR I, Inc. recently introduced me to an exciting new approach that increases the accuracy of laser scanning by a factor of 1,000, using commercial off the shelf cameras and the POLAR I proprietary algorithm.

images of enhanced depth Polar I

MIT Media Lab

The POLAR I technology is from the MIT Media Lab (check out the 60 Minute story for a fascinating inside look at the people working at this important facility) . The principal researchers are Achuta Kadambi and Ramesh Raskar.

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Intraoral Laser Scanning in Tijuana, Mexico

Dentists in Tijuana, Mexico are using the most advanced dental equipment, including intraoral laser scanning to provide less expensive dental care.

Photo of Facility in Tijuana, Mexico intraoral laser scanning

Facility in Tijuana, Mexico

Just minutes from the U.S. border in Tijuana, Mexico there is a dental practice, Mexico Dental Network in Tijuana, that has the world’s most advanced computerized dental equipment, plus and on-site lab. Since most Americans do not have dental insurance the fact that the Network can offer same day service at significantly reduced rates from those in the U.S. makes it a very attractive alternative.

How can they offer this service? One of the answers is intraoral laser scanning.

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COBie Subcommittee Formed by USIBD

The U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD) is pleased to announce the formation of the Construction-Operations Building information exchange (COBie) Subcommittee, under the umbrella of the Education Committee.

COBie Subcommittee under USIBD logo


This is an important step in the right direction for the building documentation industry in terms of standardizing the exchange of information. COBie is a non-proprietary data format for the publication of a subset of building information models (BIM) focused on delivering asset data as distinct from geometric information.

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NCALM Supports Diverse Lidar Research Projects

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping – NCALM is a joint effort of the University of Houston and UC Berkeley. It provides lidar data for research, advances lidar mapping and trains graduate students in the use of technologies.

NCALM logo


In 2016 NCALM was instrumental (pun intended) in supporting ground breaking archeology projects that located the ruins of a complex Maya settlement in Guatemala and an ancient civilization in Honduras in 2012. Those lidar-derived, digital terrain models don’t lie.

“The archeology work is significant, and it gets a lot of attention,” said Craig Glennie, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston, where the center is based, and principle investigator on a $3.26 million, five-year operational grant from the National Science Foundation. “But the center has produced important science from our work with earthquakes, landslides, wildfires and other efforts to map terrain and how it evolves over time.”

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Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, archaeology, cultural heritage, Government, Mapping, remote sensing, Research, topography | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intel Capital Invests in Delair to Accelerate Software Platform

Intel Capital is one of the world’s most powerful venture capital firms. If you recall from the Olympics (see below) they have a keen interest in UAVs, making Delair an ideal investment partner.

logo of Delair - Intel Capital

Intel Capital Invests in Delair

For the past year, Delair and Intel have been collaborating on the Intel® Insight Platform, a cloud-based digital asset management solution that leverages Delair’s extensive suite of industry-optimized software tools to speed Intel’s efforts to transform how businesses in key verticals work using data captured from UAVs for actionable analytics.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, Agriculture, airborne LiDAR, Autonomous vehicles, Business Development, Consumer, Data, Forestry, Historic Preservation, Mapping, remote sensing, Research, Software, Technology, UAS, UAVs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Automotive Lidar – Are We There Yet?

The use of automotive lidar for autonomous vehicle navigation requires not only the innovative application of technology, but in the final analysis a business plan that reflects the realities of supplying components to the automotive industry.

Photo of Jan-Erik Källhammer discussing automotive lidar

Jan-Erik Källhammer

Jan-Erik Källhammer is the Director of Visual Enhancement and Cognitive Systems at the $2 billion(USD) automotive-electronics supplier Veoneer Inc. 

I assume most people are not aware of Veoneer and perhaps the company likes it that way, but Veoneer has supplied products that are present in 175 car models. They have delivered approximately 4 million camera sensors, 30 million radar sensors and 750 million airbag electronic control units (ECUs) and crash sensors. Veoneer knows how to play the game.

Jan-Erik recently provided his thoughts in a speech in Washington, D.C. on a number of the challenges associated with the use of lidar sensors to support the navigation of autonomous vehicles. He was not pessimistic, but he has years of experience with introducing new technology into the automotive industry and understands the technical and business challenges which must both be overcome.

Here are just some of them:

  1. Initial cost is too high
  2. New technologies that auto industry is not familiar with
  3. Need to bring new components to industrial scale quickly
  4. Timing of use is not known

The one challenge that is the most daunting is the fact that the first year of lidar production will need to be greater than the total lidar sensors produced to date.

Jan-Erik likened the introduction of automotive lidar to the introduction of night vision technology, a scenario that he had a lot of experience with. There were many unexpected non-core issues such as the need to install the unit in a minute or less to meet the assembly-line timescales. In addition there are issues with ambient temperature, vibration and export rules, to name a few.

On the business front Jan-Erik wonders if it will make more sense for the lidar company to license their IP to a more skilled manufacturer, or at least partner with a tier 1 supplier who knows what it takes to scale.

Bottom line – no we are not there yet.

For more information click here.

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Posted in artifical perception, artificial intelligence, Autonomous vehicles, Business Development, computer vision, Consumer, Hardware, Mapping, Research, Sensors, solid state lidar, The Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

FARO Technologies and Traceable Construction

Over the past couple of years FARO has been somewhat quietly building an impressive stable of software products, engineering talent and a vision for how they will improve construction productivity. They refer to it as an Informed Construction Lifecycle.

FARO Scanner on site

On the Job Site with FARO Scanner

There are a number of reasons why the construction industry has been slow to adapt to the digital world, but things are changing as competition heats up and the use of BIM is being mandated on public works projects in the UK and by real estate owners such as the GSA.

Why is this the case? Because when the project developer – the U.S. government, is going to be the long term owner of the project they know that having accurate as-built information is going to lead to more efficient operation and maintenance of the facility.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, BIM, Business Development, Construction, Indoor Mapping, Inspection, Mapping, Sensors, Software, Surveying, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cassandra Quintal – Young Geospatial Professional

This is the first of an ongoing series of  interviews entitled “Spotlight on Young Geospatial Professionals.” If you would like to share your story or recommend someone please contact editor@lidarnews.com. Congratulations to Cassandra Quintal for being the first Spotlight interview.

Photo of Cassandra Quintal

Cassandra Quintal

It is a pleasure to introduce Cassandra Quintal, the president of the Maine Young Surveyors Group (MYS) and the recipient of the FIG Foundation grant to represent Young Surveyors at the NSPS/ FIG Young Surveyors North American Meeting in Washington, DC.

My career path didn’t lead me directly into surveying, I took the roundabout way in landing my dream job. But stepping ahead, I started surveying in May 2014 for Sebago Technics Inc. I have the opportunity to work outside at the most beautiful properties in Maine and inside, hopefully on the bad weather days, on GIS and CAD Draft.  Surveying is hard work that requires a “Jack of all trades” kind of attitude but the technology is advancing into a new realm. My education in GIS helps me to understand the spatial relationship between on-the-ground surveying and the digital world. Building respect in the surveying industry takes time, experience and networking but this career becomes a passion.

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Posted in Education, Geomatics, GNSS, Mapping, Surveying, Surveying Engineering, The Industry, Young Geospatial Professional | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USIBD 2018 Symposium is Just Two Short Weeks Away

The USIBD 2018 Symposium takes place in Las Vegas, NV September 24 – 26 in conjunction with the BIMForum at the Cosmopolitan. Act now to reserve your place at this high value event.

Photo of Venue for USIBD 2018 Symposium

USIBD 2018 Symposium Register Now

For all of the people who either like to wait, or don’t have a choice, the time has come to make your plans for the USIBD 2018 Symposium. If you are in the building documentation business you cannot afford to miss this important event.

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Posted in 3D Modeling, AI, BIM, Business Development, Certifications, Conferences, Construction, Consumer, cultural heritage, Education, Feature Extraction, Forums, Indoor Mapping, Orgs, point clouds, Software, The Industry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Laser That’s Changing the World

Todd Neff has written the first comprehensive book on the development of 3D laser scanning and lidar.

Picture of Book Cover the laser that's changing the world

Published by Prometheus Books

I think I may have reached the peak of my literary career! No, I haven’t written a book, or even a chapter of a book, but the folks at Prometheus Books have been kind enough to include my “blurb” on the back cover of Tom Neff’s interesting and important, The Laser That’s Changing the World.” My mother would be so proud.

Where to begin? Well, if you want the inside story on the development of lidar and 3D laser scanning from the early 1900’s through the present than this book is a must read.

It includes a discussion of the technology as well as the individuals who turned physics into commercial products. Now when someone asks you what this “lidar thing” is all about you can point them to Neff’s book for a detailed explanation.

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Posted in airborne LiDAR, art, Consumer, cultural heritage, Data, Digital Transformation, Hardware, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR, point clouds, Research, Technology, The Industry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
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