Thursday, September 1, 2011

Re-purposing the Cloud

Sustainability is a hot topic these days. The high-density point-cloud generated from a single Mobile LiDAR collection is a virtual poster-child for sustainable solutions. A key advantage to utilizing Mobile LiDAR on most projects is the ability to re-purpose the data for a myriad of uses or downstream projects. Rarely, if ever, do we get the opportunity to fully capitalize on the wealth of captured information on a single project. But if you’re an organization with diverse needs or numerous departmental groups, such as a local municipality, the ability to re-purpose the point-cloud for multiple projects creates exponential cost savings each time the data is exploited.

Land Development is another great example. We recently deployed our system to capture the as-built condition of a business and technology center in Chesapeake, VA. The center is relatively new, so there are still a number of vacant parcels that have yet to be developed. Scanning the entire complex took about an hour; but from that single collection, the developers not only obtain an accurate as-built of the site, but can also re-use the data to:

  • Develop land-use classification models;
  • Create animated fly through’s or 3D renderings to entice prospective tenants;
  • Quickly assemble to-scale 3D architectural renderings for the design/review process; or
  • Analyze and assess the enforcement of local codes/ordinances relating to sight-lines or green space.

The fascinating part is these were just the first things that came to mind. I think our motto sums it up pretty well. Unlimited Data…Infinite Possibilities!

Cheers!
Jonathan

Jonathan Soulen is GIT Operations Manager for our Virginia Beach, VA office.  He and other managers within Baker's GIT Service Area will be providing guest postings over the coming weeks.  

2 comments:

  1. Interesting you mention land-use. I was just wondering earlier in the week if this could be used for wetland delineation. Access might be the tricky part, but from there perhaps the digital photos together with intensity of the laser returns would be enough to classify the vegetation?

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  2. Mark: I wouldn't think the system could be used for a formal wetland delineation - which requires an analysis of hydric soils, vegetation types and topography (depending on if its a USACE delineation or other agency). I do like how you're thinking though. Besides intensity and images, I'm curious if density of returns could be used in classification - broad leafy trees versus conifers, height of vegetation... The key limitation may actually be the penetration we get into the vegetation.

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What is Mobile LiDAR?

Mobile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems are comprised of vehicle-mounted lasers, cameras and GPS/INS navigation systems to capture highly-detailed and accurate three-dimensional (3D) topographic information for surveying and engineering applications. Michael Baker International became an early adopter of Mobile LiDAR technology by acquiring our first system in 2009, with further expansions in 2014 and 2015 that increased our fleet to four (4) Optech Lynx SG1 Mobile LiDAR systems. Over that period our systems have completed more than 300 projects throughout 29 different U.S. States (and multiple countries), and encompassing hundreds of thousands of miles. Our project portfolio includes applications in roadway design, 3D modeling, railroad corridors, signaled intersections, utility infrastructure, asset management, pavement condition assessment and airport infrastructure.