Focused on 3D

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-10h10m45s616The Firm

Since its inception in 1995, Chustz Surveying, Inc. has continued to grow through hard work and client satisfaction. They began by providing surveying and mapping services as a sub-contractor for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (New Orleans District) project with only a pickup truck and a single boat.

From that point on, Chustz has invested in the most knowledgeable and qualified employees, along with state-of-the-art technology, in order to assure the highest caliber of service. This has allowed them to expand into other surveying areas including hydrographic, GPS, singlebeam and multibeam sonar technology, terrestrial LiDAR acquisition and more recently low altitude, UAS LiDAR acquisition.

Chustz employees are cross-trained to ensure a solid and continuous work process, as well as superior quality control throughout each phase of their projects. Their tested experience and new ideas keep the company at the forefront of the surveying industry.

The firm is involved in an array of projects for federal, state, local government, private firms and public agencies. Regardless of the scope of the project, they have the necessary workforce and the technology to get the job done. Chad Netto, GISP, noted, “This allows us to accomplish our continuing goal: To provide a solid economical source of products and services dedicated to our client’s needs.”


The hydrographic section utilizes several 3D technologies. To capture data both below and above the water line, Chustz combines high resolution sidescan sonar with their RIEGL scanners. They also use remotely controlled and autonomous surface vehicles (SeaFloor EchoBoat and a custom designed boat) for collecting hydrographic data.  They use software packages such as Hypack and Fledermaus to process the hydrographic data and structure from motion (SfM) techniques in processing imagery from their unmanned aerial vehicles (fixed-wing and multirotor platforms).

Chustz recently purchased a RIEGL RiCOPTER with the VUX-1UAV LiDAR unit.  They utilize RIEGL’s terrestrial VZ-400 LiDAR scanner and the LMS-Q120 scanner for mobile marine operations. Chad noted, “Just recently, we leased RIEGL’s new VUX-1LR long range LiDAR scanner and completed a 450-mile corridor project. We use RIEGL’s software suite for processing and producing deliverables.”

RIEGL products export and import in industry standard formats, so integrating the collected data is not an issue. As for the hardware, the RiCOPTER does require a different set of workflows in its operation/processing of data compared to mobile and terrestrial data acquisitions. RIEGL has assisted Chustz in creating these workflows and helping them to improve and adapt their current practices.

“We have had a good working relationship with RIEGL and over the years, have been very pleased with the quality of their scanners and their customer support. Whenever there is an issue, RIEGL USA has either been able to fix the issue immediately or send someone to our office to assist in resolving the issue,” Chad explained.


The first project involved the survey of one mile of a levee section to identify the elevation of the centerline using the RIEGL RiCOPTER. After the processing was completed, we compared the data to an eight-year-old airborne LiDAR collection for the same area. The results were within 0.2 of a foot.  The data was collected in 17 minutes and processed in under 2 hours.

In 2012 the Mississippi River washed out a section of the bank totaling 17 acres. After the water subsided, a terrestrial LiDAR survey was completed for that area. The 2012 crew completed the task in 1.5 days.

Chustz Surveying was tasked with surveying the area again this year.  The RIEGL RiCOPTER was used to collect LiDAR data. It took less than 15 minutes to produce more than 300 points per square meter.  This high density increased the chance of collecting ground elevations in areas with trees.

During the same time period, a survey crew acquired 15 random ground shots in the survey area. These points were used as quality checks. The difference between the LiDAR data and the points collected by the survey crew were on average within 0.01 foot of each other.

The Future

Chad commented, “3D technology has become more accessible and cost effective. This applies to the sensors, the supporting software and hardware (i.e. processing computers and storage). The traditional 2D surveying provides great results and it has its place, but being able to provide a client with an accurate 3D point cloud for an entire project area for just a little more or about the same cost, makes more sense. We foresee in a few years that utilizing 3D technologies will become a standard deliverable.”

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