Friday, October 4, 2013

Picture of the Week

Recently, we completed another rail collect in New England.  The collection encompassed approximately 55 miles of commuter rail corridor and was performed over the span of two nights (midnight to 5 am).

Baker's Mobile LiDAR equipment is installed on a hi-rail vehicle - the same utilized during the Keystone Corridor project.
Cheers!
Stephen

Friday, September 27, 2013

Picture of the Week

The crew is enjoying a trip to the west coast.  This morning was spent at our Carlsbad, CA office of RBF Consulting.


Although we are experiencing more moderate fall weather in central Mississippi, it pales in comparison to southern California.  They might never want to come home.

Have a good weekend!
Stephen

Thursday, September 5, 2013

High Traffic and Congested Areas

When proposing the use of Mobile LiDAR technology, oftentimes the discussion revolves around accuracy and cost savings.  Why shouldn't it?  In lean budget times, both public and private organizations are looking to get more “bang for their buck” in terms of project expenditures. 

The corridor along Hampton Boulevard is rich with features.
The classified point cloud and extracted 3D features depict
the level of detail achieved from a Mobile LiDAR survey.
Frequently overlooked however, are the benefits that mobile scanning can provide in terms of efficiency and adherence to schedule in high traffic and congested areas.  Using Mobile LiDAR versus traditional surveying or terrestrial scanning has an immeasurable benefit in terms of safety, and a more tangible benefit in productivity.

In Norfolk, VA, Baker performed a Mobile LiDAR survey of heavily traveled Hampton Boulevard, which runs 2-6 lanes from the VDOT Midtown Tunnel to the largest U.S. Naval Base in the world (Norfolk Naval Station).  The corridor has landscaped medians, center turn lanes, barrier walls, bridges, and underpasses - including the MagLev track at Old Dominion University - Go Monarchs!   In a high traffic environment, Baker staff drove four passes along the 8 mile corridor and finished the entire collection in a day.  Notice the detail in vegetation, signage, utilities, and bare earth along the corridor!

Another seemingly obvious way to collect data along congested areas is by using traffic avoidance.  Baker often performs data collection overnight or on weekends to avoid traffic congestion in urban downtown areas and along high-speed heavy traffic interstate corridors. 

If you have any questions about heavy traffic data collections or anything else LiDAR, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the Baker LiDAR team!

Best,
Scott 

Scott Howell is a GIT Project Manager in Baker's Virginia Beach office and an alum of ODU.  He has managed several of Baker's Mobile LiDAR projects in the region and continues to develop new opportunities for the team.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mobile LiDAR User Survey: Closed

The Mobile LiDAR User Survey is now closed. I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to complete the brief survey. Over the next few days, I'm going to review the responses and provide details in upcoming blog postings.

Danke schön!
Stephen

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mobile LiDAR Survey Reminder

I'm going to close out the Mobile LiDAR user survey next week - August 8th.  We have already received some great responses.  Please take a few minutes to supply feedback. If something isn't covered in the survey, please post a comment or use the Contact Us page.

Cheers!
Stephen

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mobile LiDAR User Survey

Last week at the Esri International User Conference, I spoke to a lot of people about Mobile LiDAR.  There were a broad range of questions presented across disciplines.  From those questions, I have developed a list of future postings.

However, as I develop those posts, I have composed a brief survey in an attempt to tailor postings to topics of interest.  If you have a couple minutes, please provide feedback on important factors for your utilization of Mobile LiDAR.

Cheers!
Stephen


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Baker @ Esri UC

Baker will be exhibiting at next week's Esri International User Conference in San Diego. Baker staff will be on-site to discuss the many services our Geospatial Information Technologies Practice Area provides, including Mobile LiDAR.

In addition to the exhibit, Scott Howell will be presenting during a moderated session on GIS for Stormwater Management.  The session is on Wednesday, July 10th at 8:30 AM in Room 30B.  The details are as follows:

Using Mobile LiDAR to Develop a Municipal Enterprise GIS
Scott Howell, Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
Using Mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, the City of Charleston, WV performed a complete scan of the roadway network for the state capital, developing a 3D model of the entire City in the process. The City of Charleston is undertaking an aggressive Long Term Storm Water Comprehensive Plan that required a data collection of storm water inlets and manholes. The City decided that the most cost effective method to acquire these features was through the use of a ground-based Mobile LiDAR system. By including a full sign inventory for their traffic engineering division, the return on investment of the entire project was significantly increased. In the future, the City has the ability to continue developing their GIS based on the information contained in the point cloud. Finally, a “snapshot” in time has been created that the City will be able to use as a reference in the future.
If you are a reader of the blog and will be attending, please stop by booth #2518.  I will be there most times, excluding an occasional absence to get fish tacos at the Tin Fish.

I hope to see you in San Diego next week.

Cheers!
Stephen

Friday, June 21, 2013

Where We're Going

We currently maintain the page on our blog showing Where We Have Been - locations we have performed collections.  However, within our company, we also track where our system is going.

Baker's Mobile LiDAR unit will be once again mobilizing to the NE on July 8th for scheduled collections on or about July 10th and 11th in New York and Connecticut.  Following the collections, the Mobile LiDAR team will have availability to perform collections or demonstrations along the route home.

Should you have questions or would like to discuss an opportunity to utilize the system, please use the Contact Us page to reach a member of our team.  The map below shows our approximate route.

Cheers!
Stephen


View Where We're Going in a larger map

Friday, May 31, 2013

Picture of the Week

Earlier this month, Jackson, MS was supposed to play host to the Navy's Blue Angels at the 50th Anniversary Airshow. However, the show was cancelled due to sequestration cuts.  I was really looking forward to it as a good friend of mine is a local Navy recruiter and promised I could sit in the cockpit - I would play Maverick to his Goose.

Continuing with a Navy theme for the second week in a row, I submit our Pictures of the Week. Cue the Kenny Loggins music...

Posing with a retired Blue Angel.
A point cloud displayed by intensity values.
A point cloud colorized from on-board cameras.
Cheers!
Stephen

Friday, May 24, 2013

Picture of the Week

The picture of the week kicks off the Memorial Day weekend with a unique perspective of our men and women in uniform.  Often people in our scans are moving, which causes distorted profiles when viewing data collected from both sensors.  These sailors were standing patiently, waiting to enter the mess hall.  It's easy to see which sailors were standing motionless.



Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day!

Cheers!
Stephen

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Best Practices

While mounting our Mobile LiDAR spring offensive, I didn't have much time to prepare articles for LiDAR News, much less update and maintain the blog.  Therefore, my colleague Dr. Srinivasan Dharmapuri stepped up and prepared an article on Best Practices for Mobile Mapping System Data collection and Processing.  Dr. Srini, Baker's resident LiDAR Scientist, has served on the ASPRS Mobile Mapping Committee since it's inauguration and is an integral part of our LiDAR organization.

Should you have recommendations for what you would like to see on the blog, in a more detailed article, or just a question to "Ask the Doctor," please leave a comment.

Cheers!
Stephen

Friday, May 17, 2013

Picture of the Week

About three years ago, we held a Name that Car Contest.  The objective was to identify the make and model of vehicles captured by our Mobile LiDAR unit utilizing only the point cloud colored by intensity.  Now, we have a point cloud of our system courtesy of a few static scans.  There is no mistaking this vehicle.


I have linked to the results of the Name that Car Contest for your convenience.

Cheers!
Stephen

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello World!

In the animal kingdom, whales are the mammals that can hold their breath the longest. I believe that after a tremendous spring, we are finally coming up for a short breath of fresh air. Our collection team has kicked off a record year with projects spanning from the plains of Texas, to the bayous of Louisiana, to the icy upper Mid-west, to the hills of the Blue Ridge, and the mid-Atlantic coast. Projects have ranged from small transportation corridors, to complete regions or metropolitan areas. We have collected on highways, in residential neighborhoods, off-road, and on the water – with the christening of a hydrographic survey vessel.

The collections have generated thousands of hours of processing for our team of technicians and analysts. We are simultaneously developing engineering/survey quality data for numerous clients, and supporting a myriad of product platforms employed by our clients including MicroStation design files and InRoads DTM’s; servicing others that require AutoCAD Civil3D products;, not to mention the generation of GIS deliverables in a host of Geodatabase models or schemas.

Over the years, we have developed the capacity to simultaneously manage multiple, challenging projects across geographies. After all, the act of a whale porpoising for air is only temporary. Before long, it’s back under the surface.

Cheers!
Stephen

Monday, January 28, 2013

Processing and Internal Communication

After a brief hiatus from writing for LiDAR News, I made time after the holidays to prepare an article. One of the most crucial elements to project performance is communication.  Often when working across professional disciplines, markets and office locations, the communication can become increasingly difficult.  Couple that difficulty with the perceived complexity of Mobile LiDAR (often a new technology to many of our consumers) and you are bound to need additional tools to facilitate understanding.  Therefore, I've prepared an article on Processing and Communicating - Internally to discuss some methods for collaborating within a team/project environment.

Should you have recommendations for future articles or blog postings, please leave a comment.

Cheers!
Stephen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Safety and Record of Survey

While I have started drafting new posts to start the new year, nothing is complete to date.  However, this is too important a topic to discuss to delay posting.  My esteemed colleague Aaron Morris pointed me to an online story that speaks directly to the topics of safety and record of survey.  We take every precaution to successfully and safely complete a collection.  Baker operates our Mobile LiDAR vehicle with two persons - one dedicated to driving, while the other concentrates on the data collection.  There are numerous road obstacles that warrant a driver's undivided attention, particularly when an expensive piece of equipment is mounted to the roof.  Therefore, the operator is also responsible for assisting with navigation and hazard detection when it is warranted.

As data is collected - both LiDAR and imagery - detailed survey information is recorded. The data is georeferenced and time-stamped.  It is simple to retrace the field activities to determine application of best practices; that necessary routes were/are collected; the information meets the scope of work and other conditions.  We review vehicle trajectory, raw LiDAR data, or photography to validate the information and communicate results.  We do place close attention to operating speeds with respect to posted speed limits and the environment being collected. These are some of the measures we employ to ensure a culture of safety, achieve safety ratings, and mitigate any potential liability.

Typically, however, we do not publish our information freely on the web.  Should we elect to do so, I believe the precautions we take would eliminate confusion and stories such as this:  Story

After a quick search, we learned that you drive on the left-hand side of the road in Botswana.  Perhaps that wasn't taken into consideration by the reporter.  You decide.

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.