Lidar Markets Technology

First Three Channel Topo Bathy LiDAR

The Maritime Journal is reporting that Airborne Hydrography AB (AHAB) of Jonkoping, Sweden, has launched what it claims to be the world’s first three channel Lidar (light detection and ranging) system – the Hawkeye III. It has dual bathymetric channels and a single topographic one.

The claim is that the system provides a full seafloor search with no limitation for shallow depths and is therefore capable of providing seamless datasets in transition zones from seabed to land. Sounds impressive.



  • I would like to point out that the first SHOALS-1000T system was delivered in 2003. For bathymetry, it had two wavelengths at 1 kHz and used four receiver channels at three wavelengths. It also had an integrated 10 kHz subsystem for terrain mapping.

  • Paul,
    I would like to clarify that what we mean with a three channel LIDAR system is that the HawkEye III system actually includes three LIDAR systems that operates and collects unique datasets simultaneously
    1. A high end topographic LIDAR system operating at up to 400 KHz
    2. A shallow bathymetric LIDAR operating at 35 KHz, capable of capturing bathymetric data down to about 1.5 times the secchi depth
    3. A Deep penetrating LIDAR system operating at 10 KHz, capable of capturing bathymetric data down to about 3 times the secchi depth
    The number of receiver channels are more than three, as we similar to other high end bathymetric LIDAR systems use several receiver channels to enhance the data due to the losses in the water volume and to secure a good and water surface measurement.
    All LIDAR channels in the HawkEye III system are collecting full LIDAR waveform, and the waveforms are analyzed in real time before the LIDAR points are derived and point cloud data is stored to disk. All bathymetric waveforms are also stored, and optionally also topo-waveforms can be stored by a user setting.
    We are especially proud of the system capability of not only automatically measure the local mean water surface level, but also the local wave height and local slopes of the water surface (as for example in river environments). Hence the HawkEye III automatically compensates for the water refraction also taking these error sources in consideration, which has increased the accuracy of the sea-bed data very much compared to our previous versions. The water refraction correction is made automatically and in both in Elevation and in Northing easting.
    In addition the AHAB HawkEye III LIDAR system also can be equipped with a Leica 80 Megapixel RCD30 four band camera, providing both RGB and IR images simultaneously with the LIDAR data capture.
    The total system weight is less than 200 Kg
    The total power consumption is less than 100 Amps on a 28 VDC power supply.
    The HawkEye III uses AHAB oblique scanner scan pattern offering both forward and backward scan in the same flight line with reflective optics.
    I feel confident that this is a quite unique speciation on the deep penetrating airborne bathymetric LIDAR systems available on the market.
    Anders Ekelund, Managing Director, Airborne Hydrography AB

  • Hi Anders,

    If the word “simultaneous” had been used in the original article, it would not have been necessary to correct what appeared to be an historical inaccuracy.
    Your description implies there are three separate laser transmitters in your system. If so, then this would be novel. It there are only two lasers in the system then the newness would be only from the simultaneous data collection. Other systems have been around for a long time with two lasers and multiple receiver channels.

    Thanks, Paul

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