What Is LiDAR & 3 Reasons You Need to Know About It

June 26, 2023 By Analytikal9gmail-com
Lidar Scanning

If you’re working in a wide range of industries or on a variety of different projects, chances are someone has mentioned LiDAR to you. While it might sound like a fancy lie detector, LiDAR is actually an exciting advancement in the world of 3D laser scanning, with a host of applications and benefits for just about anybody on any project.

What Is LiDAR?

The first thing to know about LiDAR is that it’s actually an acronym. So what does LiDAR stand for? Light detection and ranging. You might also have heard it referred to as laser scanning, 3D scanning or some variation of the two.

Regardless of what you call it, LiDAR is a method of remote sensing to help you measure the exact distance of an object on the earth’s surface. This is calculated using variable distances.

While it’s been a viable method since the 1960s, it really took off once GPS came along and the ability to get highly accurate geospatial measurements. As a result, your standard LiDAR system will comprise a scanner, laser and GPS receiver. This can be an airborne or terrestrial setup to complete the LiDAR survey, but drones are definitely becoming more commonplace to handle the full LiDAR scan.

How Does LiDAR Work?

LiDAR scanning is actually quite simple. A laser light is pointed at the object and the laser pulses. The LiDAR scanner then calculates how long it takes for the laser’s light to return to the scanner. By understanding how fast light travels (approximately a whopping 299,792 km per second), you can then accurately calculate the distance between the scanner and the object.

Using this process with a LiDAR drone or a scanner set up on a vehicle of some kind, you can quickly and accurately survey a large area. This information can then be mapped using a range of tech and software options to create a 3D model or even digital twin of the surveyed space. This model will incorporate both the absolute and relative positional information with high accuracy, allowing you to pinpoint important structures and features. As a result, you’ll be able to understand their locations and relations to one another precisely.

When Would You Use LiDAR?

LiDAR scanning and the information gathered can be quite versatile. As the data collected can be used to create 3D models, maps, point clouds and more, it is often a key tool for understanding relevant geospatial information. Therefore, you’ll see it most often used in industries like mapping and surveying, architecture, and construction.

3 Reasons You Need to Choose a LiDAR Survey

If you’re ever needing to collect geospatial data, LiDAR should be top of your list for a number of excellent reasons.

1. You Get Extremely Accurate & Detailed Results

No matter the reason behind why you need this geospatial data, you want it to be as accurate and detailed as possible. This helps to ensure you can plan ahead for any potential issues. It also sets you on track to achieve the best possible result from your final product, whether it’s a new building, a refurbishment of an existing space or simply more information to make the right decisions.

But is LiDAR better than radar? Absolutely. It’s more precise, in fact, particularly when it comes to positional accuracy between points. You can also take an extremely high sample density to help you plan your project.

2. It’s Fast & Effective

With the right tools and tech, you can very quickly scan and survey an area, gathering data to create that 3D model. Unlike other geospatial data collecting methods, like photogrammetry, it also isn’t hampered by low levels of light, so you won’t have to leave the job half-finished because the sun has set. Similarly, LiDAR can also penetrate thick forest cover to a degree, finding the gaps in the vegetation to provide accurate terrain results, even in the untamed wilderness.

Of course, you need an experienced and skilled team if you want to capitalise on this benefit. It takes training and time to be able to maximise the speed at which the scan is completed without sacrificing the quality of the data.

3. It Can Be Adapted to Suit Your Needs

LiDAR technology is extremely versatile. It can be used to collect geospatial data on a range of locations and places, even underwater. At the same time, it’s a method that can be used in conjunction with other geospatial survey techniques to achieve a more complete picture of what you’re working with. As a result, you can make informed project decisions — with the data to back you up.

Galaxy City Has Your LiDAR Needs Sorted?

Sold on this standout technology? We are too. At Galaxy City, we complete regular LiDAR scans for a range of projects, ensuring you have the data you need to get the job done right. Our experienced technicians can even help you create that perfect digital twin of your site using other geospatial surveying skills and advanced software and programs.

To learn more, get in touch today!