LiDAR is the go-to survey method for many organizations. If you haven’t used light detection and ranging for your projects before, here’s what you need to know about how to use LiDAR for the best results.
What Can LiDAR Data Be Used For?
LiDAR data has a wide range of applications in several different industries. It can be used to create accurate 3D digital images or maps, and identify natural or man-made features. Here are just a few of the many possible LiDAR applications.
Improving Roads and Railroads
Transport agencies use LiDAR to analyze and identify features of existing roads and railroads to improve transport safety and conditions for the public.
Mapping of these transportation corridors using LiDAR helps the engineering departments looking at improving infrastructure overall.
With point cloud processing software, agencies can quickly locate features such as break lines, guard rails, pavements, ramps, and rail lines.
They can also use LiDAR data to locate traffic corridor encroachment and areas that pose a collision risk. Once they have analyzed the data with point cloud software, transport agencies can make improvements to roads and railroads based on the issues and areas of improvement they identified.
Planning Road and Railroad Routes
As well as improving roads and railroads, LiDAR data can help with the planning of completely new transport routes. LiDAR data can analyze landscapes to find the most efficient routes for roads and railroads.
Before beginning construction work, no matter how large the project the construction company will need to survey it’s chosen plot. LiDAR data is quick to collect from even the largest of plots and then assessed to ensure it’s suitable for the planned building works. LiDAR of existing buildings or streets is used to identify improvement or renovation opportunities.
LiDAR data isn’t only useful for man-made endeavors. It can also be used to preserve and protect the natural world. LiDAR can penetrate forest canopies, measuring the height of the canopy and analyzing the vegetation beneath the tree leaves.
The resulting data can be used to identify different types of trees and vegetation, which allows conservationists and environmental scientists to monitor and preserve the biodiversity of forests. By measuring vegetation, LiDAR can also help check habitat conditions as well as forest health.
How to Use LiDAR Data: Top Tips
Making use of your LiDAR data can be a simple process — you just need to know how best to process it. Follow these tips to make the most of your LiDAR data post registration.
Use a Point Cloud Processing Software
LiDAR scans collect data in point clouds, which are collections of 3D coordinates coordinations that represent a 3D object or landscape.
Using point cloud processing software makes the most of your LiDAR data by reducing the time you spend assessing and analyzing your data. You’ll produce high-quality deliverables quickly, resulting in a positive impact on your revenue.
Point cloud software can automate parts of the extraction process so that you can identify and locate features in next to no time. It will also display your data in a visual format, such as a 3D digital image or map. So, you’ll be able to assess the digital version of the scanned environment rather than spending more time in the field.
Choose the Best File Format
Most Mobile Mapping LiDAR systems will store data in LAS format, which is becoming a more popular file type for survey data, but you still have the option to convert your data into other file formats.
If you want to use point cloud processing software to analyze your LiDAR data (which we highly recommend), check which files work with it best. You should choose a vendor-neutral file type if you’re not sure what software you’ll be using.
A good vendor-neutral file format is the E57 format. E57 format data is compatible with TopoDOT and most other software, and you can optimize it for improved visualization.
Choose a Storage Option That Can Store Large Files
Before you can use LiDAR data, you’ll need to store it. LiDAR data can be hard to store as file sizes can be large — especially data from big projects. You’ll need a digital storage option that can cope with multiple large files.
We recommend using a cloud storage service such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, as it’s very easy to scale storage space to suit your needs.
TopoDOT can help you make the most of your LiDAR data. With our inclusive cloud storage administrator and highly-automated processing tools, you can use your LiDAR data to produce high-quality products quickly. Request a free demo to see the benefits of TopoDOT for yourself.