Monday, October 24, 2016

Scrabble and LiDAR

Earlier this month I was on LinkedIn and read a posting on somebody’s page that LiDAR is now an official word in the Scrabble game’s dictionary. I guess that’s a good thing to know. For people that work with LiDAR or acquire the data from a service provider, you perhaps just got a slight edge over your board-game competitors. At least that’s true for those competitors that are not as LiDAR aware or informed as you.

In some respects, I’m still left at odds to think about “scrabble” and that word’s meaning in any context related to LiDAR. According to Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary scrabble means to: “scrawl, scribble; to scratch, claw, or grope about clumsily or frantically; scramble, clamber; to struggle by or as if by scraping or scratching.” That’s sort of an incongruent meaning with the precise nature of the LiDAR systems we utilize and the projects we perform with Mobile, Aerial and Static LiDAR systems. Then again Scrabble is just a game and LiDAR is just a word of no particular importance in that game. Let’s move on.

What is important however, is that LiDAR is such a pervasive technology today that it’s become a common technology even to the layperson. LiDAR has far more usefulness in every day purposes than the mapping-grade systems we operate. LiDAR systems and their data are being deployed in ways that truly reaches the mainstream of our everyday lives. As we so well know, autonomous vehicles of all forms are being deployed with LiDAR capabilities for object detection and recognition and directional guidance.

So back to the subject of this blog, here is Michael Baker’s tribute to all those Scrabble players that will use “LiDAR” in their future games.



You’ll note that we’re also emphasizing some of the qualities on the game board that we feel are important to our LiDAR operations here at Michael Baker. We’re also displaying a HoloLens system and a UAS being on the table. The UAS is being evaluated by our Kevin Pomaski for potential future flight operations. We are already integrating Mobile LiDAR and panoramic imagery with UAS photography to create 3D data for immersive holograms using HoloLens.

With this in mind, it’s also my pleasure to re-introduce Kevin Pomaski to you. Kevin had worked at Michael Baker in the past and has rejoined us (a boomerang) to now provide his personal leadership to our UAS activities and the integration of converging technologies. We will continue to develop innovative solutions for project delivery. Kevin will soon be writing about some those amazing things he is doing while merging UAS data and Mobile LiDAR data, and creating HoloLens visualizations. Kevin will be adding his blog postings on these activities to this blog site in the coming weeks.

Finally, if you want some additional Scrabble tips for LiDAR, this is a pretty good site to learn what you can do with LiDAR in your next Scrabble competition: http://scrabble.merriam.com/finder/lidar.

Until, next time,
Bob Hanson

P.S.: Art Morris who leads IT support for our systems for LiDAR and UAS here at Michael Baker says those Scrabble tiles placed on the stand to the right have a very special meaning to “The Simpsons” fans.

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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.