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What's New At Java

Getting the lowdown on LIDAR.

Topics:   Java Blog

If there's one thing our Java Post Aerial Photography crew enjoys almost as much as flying UAVs, it's talking about UAVs and their application in various industries.

One area in which Java Post Aerial Photography has a great deal of interest is using UAVs for LIDAR mapping. LIDAR is short for "light detection and ranging." It measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser light, creating "data point clouds' that are incredibly accurate. From that data, industries can create very detailed 3D surveys and maps.

Last week, our good friend Brent Bitter came to the Java Post office to chat about LIDAR. Brent is the (takes deep breath...) Manager of the Spacial Information Management and Modeling and Unmanned Vehicle Systems Program for the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment (gasp!). Wow, that's quite a job title. Brent's business cards must be a foot wide.

Here's our boss (and primary UAV pilot) Jack Tunnicliffe taking a look at a high-end LIDAR unit, suitable for mounting on large UAVs.

The bit with the "window" is called the LIDAR "puck." It contains the lasers. In this particular unit, there are 32 separate laser beams that shoot out of that window as it spins rapidly. Each time the laser hits something, it reflects back to the LIDAR unit and a data measurement point is recorded. Put a bunch of those points together and you get a data "point cloud."

Brent (middle) discusses the ins and outs of LIDAR with our UAV technician Trevor Bennett (left) and Jack (right).

Jack and Trevor look disappointed when Brent tells them the lasers are harmless, so it's not like flying a drone death ray. We're kidding, of course. Not about the lasers being harmless, because they ARE harmless. We're kidding about Trevor and Jack being disappointed to hear that.

Although "drone death ray" does sound pretty cool, doesn't it?

Okay, the LIDAR discussion is getting really technical and nerdy now, so we're going to wrap this news post up. But stay tuned. The subject of LIDAR may show up again on the Java Post Aerial Photography radar (see what we did there?)  in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks very much to our good friend, Brent Bitter, for stopping by to give us the lowdown on LIDAR. The coffee is always on, Brent, and we're always up for talking about UAVs whenever you're in the neighbourhood.

To see some examples of the work done by Java Post Aerial Photography, CLICK HERE.


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