Blue Skies Consulting

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     In September, Blue Skies Consulting, LLC, acquired a RIEGL LiDAR system in order to expand its portfolio of services. LiDAR (Light Detecting And Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that uses a pulsed laser light to collect three-dimensional point clouds of the Earth’s surface. The VQ-580 Airborne Laser Scanner provides high-speed, non-contact data acquisition using a narrow, near-infrared laser beam and a fast line-scanning mechanism. The VQ-580’s high-accuracy laser ranging is based on RIEGL’s unique echo digitalization and online waveform processing, which produces superior measurement results even under adverse atmospheric conditions. Blue Skies’ new LiDAR is mounted in its Cessna TU206 aircraft, along with its Vexcel UltraCam Lp. Blue Skies customers can benefit from this unique ability to simultaneously collect LiDAR data and photogrammetric-quality digital imagery.


What is a LiDAR and how does it work?


     A LiDAR system typically consists of a LiDAR scanner, a Global Positioning System (GPS), and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The LiDAR scanner is an active optical sensor that transmits laser pulses toward the ground as the aircraft flies a pre-determined course over the ground. A rotating polygon-shaped mirror makes the pulses of light sweep back and forth across the ground as the aircraft moves forward. Blue Skies’ new LiDAR does this 380,000 times per second (380 KHz). The system records the time delay between a light pulse transmission and reception to calculate the distance between the sensor and the ground. The sensor precisely records the position of the mirror when the pulse of light is sent and measures the angle of the laser beam. The GPS measures position and velocity. The IMU measures the pitch, roll, and yaw of the sensor. By knowing exactly where the sensor is in space (GPS), where exactly the sensor is pointing (IMU), and the distance and angle the laser beam traveled to the ground (LiDAR scanner), you can very accurately determine the X,Y, and Height of the point the LiDAR scanner measured on the ground, and produce highly accurate x, y, z measurements. When the LiDAR does this 380,000 times per second, at a speed of 80 knots, the point cloud is generated at approximately 12 points per square meter. If higher density is required, the aircraft simply makes a second pass over the same area, and the point density doubles.


What are the Benefits?


LiDAR data has many benefits which include:

• Fast data acquisition and processing.

• Reduced time collecting field survey data

• Higher accuracy than photo-based autocorrelated point clouds.

• No weather or light dependence. LiDAR data can be gathered night or day, in sunny or cloudy weather.

• A higher point density than ground-based surveys and conventional photogrammetry.

• No geometric distortions.

• Cost-effective accuracy, point density, and speed.

• Colorized point clouds using RGB values from UltraCam digital imagery


     LiDAR technology is quickly becoming a key tool in the field of surveying. With its cost-effectiveness and accuracy, LiDAR is surpassing traditional surveying techniques. Blue Skies Consulting is integrating LiDAR data with digital photogrammetry to offer clients the best data possible. Blue Skies has already begun working on projects with its RIEGL VQ-580 LiDAR, and the results are being well received.



Pictured Above: RIEGL VQ-580 LiDAR

Pictured Above: RIEGL VQ-580 LiDAR AND Vexcel UltraCam Lp

Pictured Above: 30pts per sq. meter transmission line corridor data

Pictured Above: 30pts per sq. meter transmission line corridor data

Pictured Above: 5pts per sq. meter colorized point cloud.

Pictured Above: 30pts per sq. meter mine site.


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