At OxTS we talk a lot about helping organisations to build a ‘full LiDAR survey solution’. But what is a full LiDAR survey solution and furthermore, why should you care?
Guest post from OxTS.
There’s no getting away from it. It takes a lot of patience when it comes to surveying. Depending on the type of survey you’re conducting, and what you’re looking to achieve, there are many components at play. Moreover, these components need to work together in unison for you to accomplish what you set out to do.
So, what are the components of this solution that we talk about? Here we’ll examine them in a little more detail…
LiDAR Survey Hardware
We’ll begin by looking at the hardware. When we discuss surveying solutions, we’re primarily talking about LiDAR survey. LiDAR surveying is becoming more popular and this is in part because the data gathered can be used to create 3D pointclouds. A pointcloud is a set of data points that when collected and processed, creates a 3D representation of the world. A pointcloud can be used time and again to inform project decisions – making it a valuable resource.
1 – LiDAR
It goes without saying that to conduct a LiDAR survey and create a pointcloud you need a LiDAR sensor. There are many LiDAR sensors available today, each with their own specialist application use cases. The price points vary dramatically too. Smaller commercially available scanners can cost as little as £1500 whereas a more high-end scanner can set you back upwards of £750,000.
The type of survey you want to conduct will naturally help you decide which type of scanner you need. For example, if you want to conduct a long baseline survey using a UAV/drone, the size and weight of the LiDAR will need to be considered.
Also, different LiDAR scanners output at different rates. The higher the number of points per second the sensor outputs, the denser the pointcloud may be. There are many other factors that affect pointcloud precision including the precision of the LiDAR sensor itself, its range and power over range amongst other things.
2 – Inertial Navigation System (INS)
So, you’ve chosen your LiDAR sensor, now what? As mentioned earlier there are a few factors that can affect pointcloud precision. Depending on the type of survey you’re conducting (static versus mobile) you may need to fuse inertial data with your LiDAR data.
A static LiDAR survey doesn’t need to account for changes in position, heading, pitch/roll or time. Mobile surveys, however, do.
A small error in any of the factors mentioned above can make the resultant pointcloud unusable. Therefore, when conducting a mobile survey, the data produced by the LiDAR sensor will need to be fused with precise inertial data from an INS to help ensure accuracy.
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