Mobile LIDAR Technology Tipped to Make a Difference in Landscape Data Collection

Mobile LIDAR Technology Tipped to Make a Difference in Landscape Data Collection

19 March 2013

According to researchers, while only a few years old, mobile LIDAR technology has huge potential to change how landscape data is obtained and recorded. This technology can help the work of companies engaged in transportation hydrology, forestry, virtual tourism and construction, the report says.

Researchers from the University of Houston,, David Evans and Associates, Persi Consulting and Innovative Data Inc recently presented a report to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences specifying the areas in which mobile LIDAR technology could be applied. The report is also intended to raise awareness among managers and experts about this relatively new technology and how to make use of the science, R&D Magazine reports.

Mobile LIDAR has the ability to produce images with substantially higher resolution than those provided from aerial LIDAR measurement as it captures between 10 and 100 times more data points than its counterpart. Even at fast speed, it can collect mapping data that offers a three-dimensional view of the terrain. The technology can be used for obtaining a detailed image of a forest, an urban area or surrounding geology. It also has the potential to become a key element in driverless cars and to be used by companies offering virtual tours.

The researchers note, however, that as the technology was brought to life just a couple of years ago its potential is yet to be fully exploited. This is because the number of experts capable of applying it is still small and more educational programs need to be developed to broaden its use. Besides, mobile LIDAR technology creates immense amounts of data, which can be tough to process for even large organizations and the lack of a data management protocol can hamper the sharing of information between systems.