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.