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LIDAR for Land Surveying is a Hub for Land Surveyors United Members to discuss the use of LIDAR technology in their Land Surveying Work.

LIDAR is a unique remote sensing technology that has taken the surveying industry by storm. The acronym “LIDAR” stands for Light Detection and Ranging and describes how the technology uses light in the form of lasers to measure distances

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LiDAR technology acquires data to produce an accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM). A LiDAR system combines a single narrow laser beam with a receiver system. LiDAR is primarily used to create highly accurate aerial maps. It doesn’t require electromagnetic radiation and records laser pulses that strike the object and get back to the sensor. 

LiDAR is used everywhere nowadays. LiDAR drafting is the most effective in the field of geographical systems. LiDAR has revolutionized terrain mapping and is increasingly used in industries such as urban planning, survey assessment, landscape ecology, floodplain mapping, forest inventory, and environmental engineering. LiDAR drafting has several advantages. LiDAR technology is going to be more powerful in the coming days. 

Some of the advantages of LiDAR Are:

  • LiDAR data doesn’t display the same geometric distortions as the other data types. 
  • LiDAR data can be easily integrated with other data types.
  • It collects accurate elevation data in densely forested areas. 
  • Breakline and contour generation provides the most accurate and reliable representation of topography mapping. 
  • DEM & DTM models are an important part of LiDAR data analysis, it provides highly accurate data. 

LiDAR’s Importance in Different Industries:

 Forest Planning & Management:

 Widely used in forest industries, LiDAR is used to measure the vertical structure of a forest canopy. LiDAR image is used to determine the possibility of a fire in the forest, called fuel mapping. 

 Flood Model:

 Due to its highly accurate information, LiDAR technology is used in flood planning. It’s used to create high resolution and accurate surface models of the rivers. This extracted LiDAR information can be used for 3D       simulation for better planning. 

 Land Mapping:

 DEM is added under all the layers that show the 3D view of the land. DEM is especially added on aerial photography to show the 3D view which makes it easier to build roads, buildings and other infrastructure.


Ground-based LiDAR technology can be used to capture the inside of the house. Especially with the usage of 3D printers and building materials, the construction time is shortened and cost-effectiveness has been increased. 


LiDAR was introduced to the world to gain higher results in terms of accuracy, but it has also proved to be effective in terms of time. The time of LiDAR measurement can be as short as 1 minute. LiDAR data processing is the modern way to collect LiDAR data, which makes your project delivery time so much faster and gives you a high level of accurate results.

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Did you know that LiDAR data is collected virtually everywhere? LiDAR(Light Detection & Ranging) technology isn’t new; it’s very similar to RADAR and uses light waves instead of radio waves. LiDAR sensors can be stationary or attached to moving vehicles, such as cars, planes or drones. LiDAR is used in a wide range of land cover management and planning efforts, including hazard assessment. There are a lot of industries that are already using this technology and will continue to do so while the others are new and discovering different ways to use it. Here are some of the industries which benefit from LiDAR:



Forest Planning and Management: It’s one of the most common uses of LiDAR technology. The data collected by LiDAR sensors can be leveraged to produce accurate data about the exact mapping of the forest design and structure. The data can also be used to plan which areas are suitable for forest plantation and which areas are not preferred for forest cover.

Environmental Assessment: The data generated by LiDAR sensors are used effectively for environmental assessment where researchers are able to tell which areas require patching and which areas are affected by human activities. In addition to that, the data is also used to map areas that require environmental attention and which ones require improvement.

DEM:  A Digital Elevation Model(DEM) can be generated from LiDAR data to monitor the biodiversity of vegetation or animals, flood modelling or to model pollution. LiDAR technology has made extremely easy to capture and measure the elevation height. LiDAR technology not only makes it easy but also faster and more affordable to measure these heights as opposed to other methods of surveys. 

Mapping: LiDAR technology is one of the most common technologies in the field of mapping. Unlike other data collection methods like surveying and photogrammetry, LiDAR has the ability to collect more accurate data at a faster rate and give the exact map of a given area. LiDAR also gives the 3D mapping of an area such as a forest or a river with the exact dimensions. 

LiDAR Data Capturing:

LiDAR produces mass point cloud datasets that can be managed, visualized and analyzed. The major hardware components of a LiDAR system include a collection vehicle (aircraft, helicopter, vehicle, and tripod), laser scanner system, GPS, and INS. An INS system measures the roll, pitch, and heading of the LiDAR system.

But What Do You Do With All The Data That’s Been Collected?

Processing LiDAR data involves the same tools regardless of the original scanning technology you used. The task starts with pre-processing which involves pulling the following data from the system in sequence. First, the laser data, then the positional raw data, followed by the ground-based station data, and lastly, the raw GPS and inertial measurement unit data. 

Once the pre-processing is over, adjustments are made to the calibration files and all the data is output in LAS format. It’s important to note that the LiDAR Data Processing that you use for data collection, is dependent on the project itself. 


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Kevin Dennehy, in his latest article [Hovering in High Performance UAS-based LiDAR Space] of Inside Unmanned Systems, Apr-May issue, mentioned that, “LiDAR USA has developed a lightweight LiDAR specifically for unmanned aircraft that is capable of getting centimeter-level results”. Tersus is contributing a small portion of effort with our GNSS RTK receivers to support LiDAR to achieve more high precision possibilities. Take a look at the article to learn a little bit more of us. Click here to read the article.

"We have used the Precis-BX305 as a base and rover with the rover mounted on our [ScanLook Revolution] system,” Mr. Jeff Fagerman, CEO of LiDAR USA said. “Revolution uses the VectorNav VN-300 which has two L1 GPS receivers. By adding the Precis-BX305 on-board, and post processing its results, we can fit the VN-300 trajectory onto the Precis-BX305's , thereby getting centimeter level results."

“Emerging applications such as UAS surveying and mapping, laser scanning mapping, remote sensing imaging and VR, not only require high precision at the centimeter level, but also operate in moving, kinematic modes. That presents both challenges and new opportunities for us.” Xiaohua Wen, Founder and CEO of Tersus GNSS said.

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