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Not Only In The Air: An Inside Look Into Ground-Level LiDAR Technology

Not Only in the Air: An Inside look into Ground-Level LiDAR Technology

LiDAR technologies appear to be a major topic of discussion in the civil engineering community. This light detection and ranging instrument has simplified the process of project planning and design due to advanced features and remote capabilities. LiDAR surveying is often a wonderment to civil engineers because all the data points are collected from above the ground, whether on a drone or attached to the bottom of a plane. What is failed to mention is this revolutionary technology can be used a little closer to earth. 

How it Works
​Similar to the aerial model of LiDAR surveying, the ground-model scans the area as produces 3-D models of the terrain. It captures the area’s features to be then used by the civil engineers when strategizing their projects. The ground-model is equipped with the LiDAR sensor, GPS (Global Positioning System), and navigation system. Just as the aerial model has its own method of transportation, this model is attached to vehicles, robots, or a moving trolley. The system obtains a different level of data, the aerial version cannot. On the ground, there are opportunities to go gather images from underground caves and inside buildings. Thereby, increasing the effectiveness of the data when combined with the aerial imagery. It sharpens the 3-D models by adding a different viewpoint than only one from a bird’s eye view. This way civil engineers are able to know structure of land from above, on the sides, and below the project site. It creates a complete image of the land they are working on. 

Where it Applies 
​Every civil engineering project requires more than one point of view and more effective data. Ground-level LiDAR surveying was built to see what the aerial surveying may miss. A mobile trolley can go through parking garages and buildings to gather information on the indoor navigation of the structures. When attached to a vehicle, it can analyze road infrastructures. Robots have been used in agriculture to assist in finding out where to apply fertilizer. 

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