Top 5 Considerations for Choosing Lidar for Outdoor Robots

Designing a robot for outdoor use – for example, in agricultural or mining robots—comes with a unique set of considerations when selecting navigational hardware. For example, outdoor robots must contend with inclement weather, blinding sunlight, and variable temperatures that can interfere with scanner function and impair reliability.  But choosing the right laser scanner (Lidar) ensures accurate navigation and extends the […]

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Automated Feature Extraction Goes Mainstream

Background Civil Maps is an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up based in Silicon Valley.  Over the past couple of years, they have developed industry leading technologies for the autonomous vehicle industry.  Their key technologies include automated registration of LiDAR point clouds without the need for ground control points, automated feature extraction to rapidly produce large area maps, and Scout, their low-cost […]

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Using LOA and LOD to Reduce Risk

My firm Architectural Resource Consultants (ARC) has been performing building documentation services for nearly twenty years.  Over time I have come to realize that most clients don’t know how to write a Request for Proposal (RFP), or properly specify the services they are requesting.  Most of the time when I’ve run into trouble with an unmet expectation on a project […]

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Tying Data Together

The LiDAR profession continues to evolve and with evolution comes new solutions, innovation and analytics which causes the provider of data to evaluate the best solution for the application. Merrick & Company uses most every remote sensing technology to provide solutions to most mapping applications. One of the more challenging aspects of combining technologies is making all the data fit […]

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Delights and Challenges When Scanning in Africa

A hidden Ethiopian treasure history of Yemrehanna Kristos Yemrehanna Kristos is one of Ethiopia’s lesser known and, maybe for that reason, better preserved churches compared to churches of Lalibela. Built by a Zagwe king-priest of the same name, around the 12th century, this church is an outstanding example of a late Axumite design. It was, and still is, an important […]

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Comparing Aerial Photogrammetry and 3D Laser Scanning

In the last decade, the evolution in computing power – both in CPUs and GPUs – has allowed the development of photogrammetry software that can turn a set of photos of an object, such as a building, into a 3D model. These software products compete with laser scanners, which are widely used throughout design, construction, and operations of infrastructure assets […]

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Dignity in 3D

Direct Dimensions has had the opportunity to work on many amazing art projects in the last fifteen years ranging from documenting famous sculptures for museums to working with talented local artists. One of our recent projects has been a partnership with Zachary Oxman, a sculptor based in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Oxman is known for his bronze art work as […]

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The Impact of Software on the Lidar Industry

The Trusty Slide Rule I’m sitting here looking at the Sun Hemmi slide rule that I keep on my desk (I have been using it as a ruler over the past several decades) and I reflect that this wonderful device never required any software updates or battery charges, yet it still delivers very accurate advanced mathematical calculations. One could postulate […]

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“Commercial” Drones, but Just Barely

FAA Section 333 exemptions allow operators to fly drones in the national airspace for commercial purposes. We were excited in May 2015 after receiving ours. At last we could use this new technology to expand our remote sensing and mapping operations.  We were primed for starting a new profitable business doing amazing things flying drones.  On the surface the approval to fly “commercially” sounded great. […]

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Thurber Engineering Case Study

Thurber Engineering Ltd. is a Canadian consulting firm that provides a variety of geotechnical, geo-environmental, and construction materials engineering and testing services. The company takes a multidisciplinary approach to projects related to earth, environmental, and materials science. One of the major components of the GIS-based analysis work that Thurber undertakes is identifying geological landforms and assessing their suitability for a […]

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Incorporating High-Definition Scanning in the National Register of Historic Places Nomination

Incorporating High-Definition Scanning in the National Register of Historic Places Nomination of the Proposed Miller Tract/Center-Soll Historic District in Des Moines, Iowa By Colleen Kinney, local project coordinator, NorthofGrandHistory@gmail.com Aaron West awest@mecresults.com and Ted Black tblack@mecresults.com at McClure Engineering Company In 1924, Better Homes & Gardens magazine touted the efforts of a Des Moines, Iowa community group as a national […]

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TopoDot User Conference Keynote

Geospatial visionary is developing world class transportation asset management system for Budapest, Hungary Recently I had the opportunity to interview Gyula Sz. Fekete, Department Head, GIS Application Development and Data Capture for the Road Management Company of Budapest, Hungary. Gyula has his degree in Survey Engineering. He is currently leading the development of one of the most advanced, 3D transportation […]

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Africa’s Other Pyramids

It is little known and generally ignored that more than 800 years after the last pyramids were built in Egypt, a new era of pyramid construction began in an African country south of Egypt. Over a period of more than 1,000 years some 200 pyramids, more than twice the number of known Pyramids in Egypt, were built for royal cemeteries […]

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Solution-Based Remote Sensing Analytics

Solution-based mapping for a variety of applications has become predominate over the last five years as a result of advancing technology and the need to provide solutions with a variety of sensors for a given application. Merrick & Co. has been applying a variety of mapping technologies to address these applications. They include but are not limited to positive train […]

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GNSS – The Rest of the Picture

Matching the GNSS solution to the project continues to be an issue. In the previous article we looked at projects that were widely varying in requirements. First we reviewed the most general case requiring positioning to only a meter or more. Next we saw how an RTK system may be an appropriate solution for UAVs with the LOS restriction and […]

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Where Are We With Feature Extraction?

Feature extraction and automated feature extraction were the main topics of discussion at conferences and during presentations about five years ago. Now, focal plane LiDAR and UAV’s are all the buzz. Feature extraction is still a vital part of what we do and are trying to do better. Where are we with feature extraction and how have we progressed? Companies […]

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HERB Gets a New Eye

Background HERB 2.0, also known as the “robot butler”, is an ongoing project in the Personal Robotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Velodyne’s Frank Bertini recently had the opportunity to visit CMU and experiment with integrating the VLP-16 Puck LiDAR sensor onto HERB’s head. David Butterworth, a graduate student at the CMU Robotics Institute, has been hypothesizing and testing […]

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The Growth of Mobile LiDAR Mapping

Introduction The use of mobile LiDAR systems to map and document the condition of horizontal infrastructure, as well as the associated assets has moved out of the early adopter stage and it is now beginning to cross over into a much larger market. From its early days of being used to locate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for the military in […]

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I Told You So…

Scenario My firm, Eco3D recently worked with a client on a $800 hundred-million-dollar project on the east coast and to validate the elevator shafts and staircases of a newly constructed corporate headquarters. The general contractor is a very large and well known national company that not only has a VDC/BIM Division, but aggressively markets that as a differentiator to owners […]

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Just How Accurate is Your Drone?

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) continue to influence the profession of remote sensing and mapping like few things ever have. Advances in computer technology, global positioning, and miniaturization have conspired to remove considerable barriers to entry. Many new practitioners are buying drones and providing these services and data for the first time. Much (not all) of the science and art of […]

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The Zamani Project – Heritage Documentation Beyond the Point Cloud

The world’s tangible cultural heritage is suffering under an onslaught of war, cultural terrorism, vandalism, natural disasters, art theft, neglect and natural deterioration over time. While none of this destruction can be prevented by even the most advanced state-of-the-art digital documentation technology, digital heritage documentation makes a significant contribution to, at least, the virtual preservation of humankind’s past. It also […]

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Selecting The Appropriate GNSS Solution

Determining the appropriate GNSS solution required in your mobile lidar system can be a bit troublesome. While this is true, it is only true if your preferred vendor offers a choice and if you are aware of the choices. Most manufacturers offer only a single solution, some offer only a particular brand, and others offer a variety. It is easier […]

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Lidar System Accuracy

A client told me the other day that some vendors are promising vertical accuracy of LiDAR deliverables that exceed the LiDAR manufacturer specifications for that system and asked: Is it legitimate for a service provider to promise better accuracy than manufacturer specifications? Or, are service providers overselling their LiDAR services by promising high vertical accuracies? The short answer is “Yes”, […]

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Lidar Holiday Art Finalists 2015

The following images have been selected as the final candidates for the 2015 Lidar Holiday Art contest. We were amazed by the quality and quantity of the submissions.  Thank you to everyone for these outstanding images. We have had such a positive response to this event that we want to continue with this idea by featuring images in the Showcase […]

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