Education Markets Technology

Laser Operator Certificate

John Smits recently notified me of the following. In New York State, anyone who operates a laser unit must be certified by the NYS Department of Labor, receiving a Laser Operator Certificate of Competence card. This involves hours of classroom time as well as passing a test administered by the state.The only exceptions to this law are Licensed Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

I wonder if laser scanning operators are even aware of this and if it applies to airborne LiDAR systems.


  • How does this apply to 3D laser scanning technicians and how does it differ from conventional surveyors using reflectorless total-stations? It’s similar “laser” technology.

  • That is a very good question. One of the things that has been a hot topic over the past year is the use of laser scanned data in a court setting. Our company can certify a user (in most cases local, state, or federal police) for laser scanning in detailed investigations, forensics (typically homocides/suicides), and vehicle accident cases. I have already had a request to certify someone who wished to be certified to use their data in a civil case now.

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