Drone LiDAR Mapping

DJI L1 LiDARWhat is Aerial LiDAR Mapping?

LiDAR stands for Light Detection And RangingLiDAR mapping, is the creation of topographical surfaces through the use of laser beams to detect changes in the surface. Laser beams are emitted from the sensor at a very high rate, and the time it takes for that to return to the sensor is calculated and the point of contact with the surface, or object is recorded. 

Terrestrial laser scanning has been used in construction for many years, aerial laser scanning is somewhat newer due to the size and weight of LiDAR units, but recent advances in technology have allowed for smaller and lighter units to be mounted on planes and drones. 

 The laser unit is continually collecting hundreds of thousands of points per second, and these points make up a surface which can turned into a point-cloud for processing and analysis. The data that is collected is highly accurate, complimented with ground control points and survey points to improve and verify the accuracy. 

Some of the main areas where LiDAR shows its worth are in areas of vegetation, even medium grass, LiDAR can penetrate through to hit the hard surface of the ground. 

LiDAR comes into its own when vegetation or forrest canopy penetration is required. Normal drone camera sensors will only see the top of the trees or the long grass in an overgrown field. LiDAR can penetrate through the canopy of vegetation until it hits the hard surface of the ground.