Friday, May 1, 2015

Picture(s) of the Week

I was waiting to post this, but it's making the rounds on other social media sites and within Michael Baker International.  Also, there can't be a better day than our 75th Anniversary Celebration to show this off!

With the acquisition of another Mobile LiDAR system, we have deployed our combined approach to Mapping the Nation's Infrastructure.  The vehicle utilizes the Optech Lynx SG1 Mobile LiDAR system, Pavemetrics Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) and GSSI RoadScan Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) systems for a combined approach.

Another modification includes the mounting of 3 of the Lynx 5-mega pixel cameras forward of the systems to capture forward facing frame imagery - while also deploying the Ladybug 5 spherical camera.


Celebrating 75 Years

Today kicks of our 75th Anniversary Celebration at Michael Baker International.  If you look closely, our legacy Mobile LiDAR system made it onto the photo (middle, left of center).  Given the Signature Projects we've performed and the outstanding employees we have across our organization, it's an honor to be represented.

You can look at some of Michael Baker's history presented in past posts at:


Monday, April 27, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Mobile LiDAR Operator - Introduction

Within the Mobile LiDAR profession we sometimes have to step back and reassess our assumptions of our audience’s understanding of the technology. Since we work with it every day, it’s easy forget that even after nearly 6 years of mainstream use, most people have no idea what the equipment is, nor how it works. Frankly, it’s not too surprising to me, because before I started with Baker a year ago, I was in with the majority of the population – no idea this amazing technology was in use, let alone having an industry pioneer right here in my home State of Mississippi.

Mobile LiDAR Vehicle in Utah
The view from the passenger seat of our legacy Mobile LiDAR unit while in Utah.
As a Michael Baker Mobile LiDAR operator I came to realize fairly early in my career that this is not an ordinary job. I have driven all across this beautiful country - from coast to coast, and points in between. Some of you are probably thinking that all that driving has to be sheer torture - but I actually enjoy it. I see it as a prime opportunity to travel this great country. I get to see new places, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that I get paid to do it.

If you’re a follower of Michael Baker’s various Mobile LiDAR social media sites, you've already seen some of my travels on Instagram. Now that I've got my first blog posting under my belt, I’m going to take this opportunity and run with it. I’m working on an upcoming series of posts in which I hope to share with you aspects of a day in the life of a Mobile LiDAR operator. I think it’s worthy to dispel some of the misconceptions about what we do - because after all, we don’t just “push a button and drive”.


Clark Jackson is a lead operator with Michael Baker International's Mobile LiDAR team.  He joined Baker in 2014 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering Technology from Mississippi State University. Clark will be providing further postings from the operator's perspective and sharing insights on his roles and responsibilities.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions: Updated

Yesterday started a week of updates, in more ways than one.  Currently, we have Optech in our office to finalize the upgrade and installation of our systems.  With this, I've taken the opportunity to revisit the Frequently Asked Questions part of the new Mobile LiDAR website - you might have also noticed the change in our domain name.

The questions and answers have been updated to reflect the change in our systems, their capabilities and slight variations between the units.  Additionally, I've embedded links into questions that have been addressed in the more than 100 postings that have been prepared over the past 5 years.

If you have a Mobile LiDAR related question, feel free to post a comment or use the Contact Us page to send me an email.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy National Surveyors Week!

National Surveyors Week, beginning the third Sunday of March, is celebrated each year to highlight the contributions surveyors make to society.  Whether through traditional surveying, photogrammetry, LiDAR, geodesy, or hydrographic surveying, the profession plays a substantial role in defining the characteristics of our constantly evolving environment.

Thank you to all the surveyors who came before us!


Michael Baker Jr. survey crew stops for a photograph along US Highway 19 in Florida (specific location unknown), circa 1943.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We're on Instagram

The Mobile LiDAR team is now on Instagram! The crews are going to upload pictures to show off some of their travels.  The first few pictures (and a movie) are posted, but now that the wraps are completed and unveiled, there will be more forthcoming.


PS:  Although I'm not pictured, I was on the boat... 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Picture of the Week - New Mobile LiDAR Vehicles

It has been five and a half years since we unveiled our original system in the first Mobile LiDAR blog posting. The Suburban has served us well for these years, but with deploying the our newly acquired Optech Lynx SG1 systems it was time for something new.

After looking at numerous vehicles and consideration of the years of deployment, we decided to go with Nissan NV2500's.  The large flat roof provides a similar mounting height as our Suburban (with wing), but a much larger interior for our crew's comfort when traveling around the country on assignment.
Michael Baker International's new Mobile LiDAR vehicles.  
The interior build out includes cabinets and working area for our crew. There is plenty of room for all of the supporting equipment, luggage and some of the luxuries the crew brings with them on the road.


Note:  The Nissan NV2500 is manufactured in Canton, MS - 3 exits north of our Ridgeland, MS operation along Interstate 55.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Addition to Mobile LiDAR Team!

We’re excited to have Eric Andelin join Michael Baker International. Eric will work from our office in Tampa as our LiDAR Services Technical Director focusing on business development. He will help our leadership team in Mobile LiDAR initiatives in various national markets. Eric comes to Baker having built a dynamic and successful career working for a variety of industry leading engineering and geospatial firms. Eric, in fact, was instrumental in providing peer level guidance to Baker more than five years ago when we were assessing the purchase of our first Optech system. At that time we found that Eric demonstrated the very best of professional behaviors. He shared his experiences and insights. He impressed us.

Eric has always effectively communicated and represented his acquired knowledge in the application of Mobile LiDAR technology within our profession. Going back in time, Baker was one of just a few firms stepping forward to invest in these systems and to become early practitioners of Mobile LiDAR. It was a unique time and place for just a few firms that were operating at forefront of this technology. We were all eager to find our way in the new marketplace and develop solutions and products. At least in our case, Baker found we could work with other firms and communicate often amongst each other on the trade-offs associated with various systems and the business elements associated within the investment decision going into this new market. Eric was benevolent in working within our entire profession by sharing his personal insights on the application and capabilities of Mobile LiDAR with us and others that asked for guidance. In that regard, everyone benefited from his high level of professionalism.

While Eric obviously had his company’s primary interests to address at that time and throughout the years, he understood and kept a balance between his obligations to his employer and the profession in communicating his insights within the evolving Mobile LiDAR products and services marketplace. It was important then, and is very much more so today, that practitioner professionals continually communicate on the significant issues and considerations that are related to our best practices. There is a vast amount of information freely available today, that was not so five to six years ago, on Mobile LiDAR and that stemmed from the importance professionals place on informing others on best practices and the needs for standards. Communication is vital to ensure that this technology is evolving and the technology is applied correctly. We all want to evolve within the Mobile LiDAR marketplace along a path of high standards and professionalism. The Geomatics related services and products are typically produced for the engineering community. Serving that community carries a high responsibility for service firms to provide high accuracy products with exceptional data quality. These LiDAR-derived products are consumed into the design, construction and operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects that ultimately serves the general public’s needs.

Usually professionalism in a practice is traceable back to the behaviors of the early adopters and practitioners. They “set the initial bar” for standards within a practice. In the case of Mobile LiDAR, Eric certainly demonstrated his commitment to our profession in a very direct way. His contributions in working professional peers and professional associations on standards of practice have led directly or indirectly to the successes of several firms. Along with our LiDAR scientist, Srinivasan Dharmapuri, Ph.D. and Stephen Clancy, PSM that leads operational capabilities, we expect and encourage Eric to continue assisting our clients, professional associations (such as ASPRS) and peer companies to continue to develop and maintain standards of professional practice.


Robert Hanson is Senior Vice President and National Practice Lead – Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT) for Michael Baker International.

Friday, September 26, 2014

In the Press

Pittsburgh, PA – Optech and Michael Baker International are pleased to announce that they have signed an agreement for the delivery of two new Lynx SG1 Mobile Mapper™ Systems, the latest model of Optech’s industry-leading line of Mobile LiDAR solutions. The purchase completes an upgrade for Michael Baker International’s existing Lynx system to the SG1 specification, equipping the firm with two of the most powerful mobile mapping systems in the world. The first of the new Lynx SG1 systems is scheduled for immediate delivery to Michael Baker International.

The latest in Optech’s line of mobile mappers, the Lynx SG1 collects ultra-dense 3D data with survey-grade accuracy from a vehicle travelling at cruising speeds, along with co-aligned camera imagery. With Optech’s Lynx SG1 systems, Michael Baker International will remain at the forefront of the engineering profession and will expand its national business by efficiently accomplishing high accuracy engineering surveys and asset mapping for managing highways, runways and other
infrastructure. Michael Baker International will also utilize the technology in support of MAP-21 program objectives for the Department of Transportation by using Mobile LiDAR systems to gather data necessary to achieve highway performance goals for safety, infrastructure condition, and sustainability.

“We are excited to enhance and expand our core capabilities with the new Lynx SG1 Mobile Mapper™ systems,” said Robert Hanson, Michael Baker International’s National Practice Lead – Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT). “We were amongst the first innovators in the use of Optech mobile mapping technology with our system acquired five years ago. The high quality Mobile LiDAR work that is produced by our in-house team of experts has earned a strong reputation. Our registered quality programs have achieved ISO 9001:2008 – ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9001-2008 certificates for both Design and Provision of Professional Engineering and Consulting Services for Mobile LiDAR Field Collection, and for LiDAR Data Processing. At Michael Baker International, we understand the engineer’s needs and a project’s demands, so we are able to make a big difference in our clients’ expectations for the products and services we deliver.”

“The Optech Lynx has been powering Michael Baker International’s mobile mapping and surveying endeavors for some time now, and we are happy to expand their capabilities with the latest model of Lynx,” said Albert Iavarone, Business Unit Manager at Optech. “We are very happy that after examining the various options available to them, Michael Baker International once again decided that the Lynx SG1 was the best fit for their demanding projects. Optech is committed to ensuring that our clients get the best possible value out of their investment, which is why we are also modifying their existing Lynx system to the SG1 model. This upgrade will keep their existing surveying tools at the forefront of the industry for some time to come.”

About Michael Baker International
Michael Baker International, LLC is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services which includes planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. Baker provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients. With over $1 billion in annual revenue, Michael Baker International has more than 5,000 employees in over 90 offices located across the U.S. and internationally, and is ranked as the 26th largest design firm in the U.S. by McGraw Hill’s Engineering News-Record. To learn more about Michael Baker International visit:

About Optech
Optech is the world leader in high-accuracy LiDAR 3D survey systems, integrated cameras, and productivity-enhancing workflows. With operations and staff worldwide, Optech offers both standalone and fully integrated LiDAR and camera solutions in airborne mapping, airborne LiDAR bathymetry, mobile mapping, terrestrial laser scanning, mine cavity monitoring, and industrial process control, as well as space-proven sensors. Accuracy and productivity matter!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mobile LiDAR and Flood Impact Studies

The Mobile LiDAR vehicle trajectories (shown in red) are
displayed with the 1979 Easter Flood boundary (in blue).
I arrived this morning to the latest issue of LiDAR News magazine sitting on my desk.  I am proud to have been a contributing writer for more than three years now - although lately my commitments do not afford me as much time to write as I once did for both the magazine and this blog.  However, Gene Roe, managing editor and co-founder of LiDAR News, does wrestle an article from me from time to time.

My latest article, Mobile LiDAR and Flood Impact Studies, details work we performed in the Jackson, MS metropolitan area to extract approximately 12,000 first floor elevations and other data to support the work of several partner organizations and stakeholders.  The project, completed over a period of approximately four months, required collection of over 700 miles of Mobile LiDAR data, survey ground control and aerial LiDAR validation.

Entire subdivisions are quickly captured with Mobile LiDAR data alleviating the need for entry onto private property to gain information.  Outreach was performed via news and print media prior to collections.
Several of our staff live within the boundary of the project.  Therefore, we had a more personal connection with the project and its successful completion than is experienced with a typical roadway design type application.  We were working with information pertaining to our homes and property.