Drone LiDAR | Aerial LiDAR Scanning | ALS

The brief overview of the benefits of LiDAR are;

  • it minimizes potential safety risks to ground crews.

  • it reduces field survey time.

  • it offers immense amounts of accurate data about the area being scanned.

  • it has the ability to penetrate vegetation to acquire ground data.

  • it's speed of capture of data is much higher than ground crews.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) historically got its start in the 1980s when it was coupled with new at the time GPS technology. Back then, the systems were very large and heavy, extremely expensive and relative to today, not very accurate. Systems today can weigh less than 3 kilograms and be easily hoisted by a drone. 

Drone LiDAR builds on all of the strengths their manned aircraft LiDAR counterparts have but have a few differences. Drone LiDAR compared to manned aircraft LiDAR has a much higher point density because they fly much lower and slower which allows for scans of small profile items like power lines, towers, poles and even guy wires. Also, operating a drone and the drone LiDAR system is less expensive and requires less space. Last, Drones when compared to manned aircraft will cover less ground per hour.

Drone LiDAR deliverables include; 

  • Points clouds with densities starting at 200 pts/m2 to more than 1000 pts/m2

  • Quality levels better that QL1; vertical accuracy better than 5cm, NPD (nominal point density) ground LiDAR point densities much greater than 8 pts/m2, NPS (nominal point spacing) ground LiDAR much tighter than 0.5 meters.

  • Classified point clouds including fine detail features like power lines and cables.

From the LiDAR point cloud many derivative data outputs can be produced like; DEMs, DSMs, contour lines, forestry metrics, break-lines and more. Fr further information about Drone LiDAR and it's performance capability, check out our blog.

Example of a Drone LiDAR Setup and Flight

Check out this simple drone LiDAR mission where Rekon Solutions Inc runs through the mission start to finish in the very informative 4 minute video.

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