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Apple iPhone 12 Pro Lidar Evaluated

image of Apple iPhone 12 Pro Measures Erosion
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Measures Erosion

Traditionally, topographic surveying in earth sciences requires high financial investments, elaborate logistics, complicated training of staff and extensive data processing. Recently, off-the-shelf drones with optical sensors have already reduced the costs for obtaining a high-resolution dataset of an Earth surface considerably. Nevertheless, costs and complexity associated with topographic surveying are still high. In 2020, Apple Inc. released the iPad Pro 2020 and the iPhone 12 Pro with novel build-in LiDAR sensors.

From a research paper in Science by Gregor Luetzenburg, et al.

Here we investigate the basic technical capabilities of the LiDAR sensors and we test the application at a coastal cliff in Denmark. The results are compared to state-of-the-art Structure from Motion Multi-View Stereo (SfM MVS) point clouds.

The LiDAR sensors create accurate high-resolution models of small objects with a side length > 10 cm with an absolute accuracy of ± 1 cm. 3D models with the dimensions of up to 130 × 15 × 10 m of a coastal cliff with an absolute accuracy of ± 10 cm are compiled.

Overall, the versatility in handling outweighs the range limitations, making the Apple LiDAR devices cost-effective alternatives to established techniques in remote sensing with possible fields of application for a wide range of geo-scientific areas and teaching.

Here, we test the novel Apple LiDAR sensor at a coastal cliff site in eastern Denmark. Coastal cliffs are quickly changing dynamic environments with a high geo-hazardous potential. They are representative for numerous research areas within the geosciences11. The aim of this study is to test and assess the application of the LiDAR scanner in the iPhone and iPad for geoscientific research by investigating (i) the technical capabilities, including accuracy and precision of the LiDAR sensor in a controlled environment and (ii) the usability in-situ at a coastal cliff in eastern Denmark and (iii) compare the output of the iPhone LiDAR sensor with smartphone photogrammetry.

For the complete article on the Apple iPhone 12 CLICK HERE.

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