Point of Beginning - April 2010 - (Page 28)

Is mobile LiDAR viable as a surveying tool? A surveying and mapping firm puts the technology to the test. BY S. KEITH McNEASE, RPLS, PS, CP S ince the launch of the first commercial mobile LiDAR systems in 2007, the professional surveying community has been closely following this technology. Equipped with multiple lasers specifically designed for mobile applications, these systems have become well publicized for their ability to capture data as accurately as traditional survey methods in a significantly shorter period of time. However, skeptics are quick to point out that the relative and absolute system accuracies stated by the device manufacturers are generally based on results achieved through laboratory testing in controlled environments. In fact, a number of questions remain, says Sam Hanna, RPLS, president of Texas-based Surveying And Mapping Inc. (SAM Inc.). “For those in the surveying business,” he notes, “the big questions are: Can we get survey grade results in a real-world situation with this technology? What is the actual attainable accuracy of the system? Are the results repeatable? And can we trust the data?” By most accounts, mapping/GISgr grade positional accuracies are readily ac achievable with the onboard GPS and po position orientation system (POS) integrated into the mobile LiDAR system, but this level of control alone will not support typical design survey requirements of less than 0.1-foot accuracy. Hanna, whose business philosophy has centered around recruiting the best people and providing the most advanced equipment and training, recognized the potential of mobile LiDAR early on. After carefully studying the technology and the experiences of some of the earliest adopters, Hanna was ready to take the leap. SAM purchased an Optech Lynx Mobile Mapper system in September 2009. The firm then undertook two proof-of-concept projects using the new system. “We wanted to develop some reallife examples that would help clients understand that mobile LiDAR technology could be used as a survey tool,” Hanna says. “And we wanted to determine what best practices should be employed to achieve accurate results on a repeatable basis.” 28 APRIL 2010 | Point of Beginning | www.pobonline.com http://www.pobonline.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Point of Beginning - April 2010

Point of Beginning - April 2010
Contents
Editor’s Points
Newsline
A Grand Re-Entrance
Virtual Warfare
A Model Community
Tough Work in a Tight Spot
Show Me the Data
BIM in a Box
Opinion
Traversing the Law
Professional Topography
Surveying GIS
GIAA Mailbag
New & Notable
Classified Ads
Ad Index

Point of Beginning - April 2010

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