More is Better?

  1. There are applications, such as floodplain mapping where the more dense the point cloud the better.
  2. LiDAR is a powerful 3D measurement technology, not a complete solution.
  3. Please provide your opinions so that we can use this as a platform to advance the industry.

As a follow up to the post from Monday, I have heard from a couple of people that increased density of LiDAR point clouds can be a good thing. In thinking about this I can see their point, particularly when it comes to defining surfaces, versus linear, or 3D objects for instance. This would certainly apply in the case of building DEMs and in the automotive applications, but in general I still think that we should be thinking about how to make hardware smarter.

The key I believe is to look at each major application with the accompanying work flow to see where the technology can be optimally applied. We need to start with the problem. LiDAR is a powerful 3D measurement technology – not a complete solution. In the case of floodplain mapping it would seem that the more points that could be collected the better the surfaces that could be built, but there may be a more intelligent, holistic systems approach that can be derived if we take the time to look at the entire process. This is certainly the case in those applications where we are trying to use the point cloud as input to 3D design, like highway or process plant design.

What is encouraging to me is that in a relatively short time period people in the industry are finding this blog and beginning to think about some of these issues. (Thank you Internet.) Although the technology has been around for decades, from a technology adoption perspective we are still in the early stages of the growth and development of this industry. There is plenty of room for new ideas and innovation. That’s what makes it so exciting to be a part of.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to raise some of these issues, but to really make this work we need to get other opinions on the table. I want to encourage everyone to let me know what you think. Please send me your ideas and opinions. People will soon get tired of hearing just one. Hopefully we can use this as a platform to advance the entire laser scanning industry. Gotta think BIG.

In this case more is definitely better.

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