LIDAR (Light Imaging, Detection and Ranging) is a method of surveying that measures distance to a target using illumination along with a pulsed laser light, and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. The differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3D-representations of the target. LIDAR is commonly used to make high-resolution maps. The narrow laser beam makes it possible to map objects with a high degree of resolution.
LIDAR is used in Surveying and Civil Engineering mainly for aerial and terrestrial scanning. As a result of the accuracy of the data natural interpretation becomes less ambiguous and therefore costs are reduced when compared to a traditional survey type.
- Terrestrial Scanning creates 3D models of complex objects: piping networks, roadways, archeological sites, buildings, bridges, etc., making it safe for objects to be measured remotely in operations such as measuring roadways under traffic. Therefore it is possible to rapidly map complex sites in much more detail with Lidar than is possible with conventional means allowing for a better base sheet for design, covering large area quickly.
- Aerial Scanning has a variety of uses, including providing data for topographic maps, measuring tree canopy heights, and determining forest biomass values.
For larger areas aerial LIDAR provides base sheets for all types of project specific
civil engineering design such as master planning, grading, utilities, drainage analysis, stormwater treatment and erosion control, as well as roadway design.
Some of the benefits of a Lidar survey are:
- Acquisition of data in a short time
- High Data Quality
- Safety as a result of less field time in a potential hazardous location
- Reduced labor, time, elimination of frequent, time-consuming site revisits and provides quality control
- Remote acquisition and measurement
- Imagery and 3D visualization assures that mapped objects correspond to actual existing conditions