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Lidar Basics Provides Valuable Educational References

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Lidar Basics Explained

Genius as it may be, sometimes even the cleverest of technologies gets a slow start. Such has been the case with LiDAR—light detection and ranging—which is used to capture 3D images and information about both natural and manufactured objects and environments and their surface characteristics. Lidar basics are explained in this introductory article along with a number of important references.

From an article in Fierce Electronics by Cabe Atwell.

Though it was first developed in the 1960s, LiDAR didn’t gain traction until the 1980s, when the global positioning system (GPS) was introduced. Today, various types of LiDAR are used across numerous disciplines, such as architecture, agriculture, urban planning, climate change, construction, coastal engineering, archaeology, topography, national defense, space exploration, and so much more.

The remote sensing technology of LiDAR typically consists of a laser, scanner and GPS receiver. Light pulses via a laser are aimed at a target, and the light is reflected by the target. Sensors detect the reflected light and measure the range or distance between the LiDAR system and the target, as well as three-dimensional information regarding the surface around it.

To calculate the distance of the target, the following formula is used:

Distance of Target = (Speed of Light x Time of Flight) / 2

Once multiple laser ranges or distances have been captured, they can be coupled with GPS data and other measurements to form a “detail-rich group of elevation points, called a ‘point cloud,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Point clouds can be used to create various models and tools that are useful in topography, urban planning, and other areas of study.

Two primary categories of LiDAR technology include airborne and terrestrial. However, various other types of LiDAR exist, and have proven useful to scientists in both the public and private sectors. Here’s a cursory list to illustrate the depth and breadth of this remarkable and adaptable technology.

For the complete article on lidar basics CLICK HERE.

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