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From the Editor: The Next Great LiDAR Application Print E-mail
Written by Roland Mangold   
Monday, 05 December 2016

A 295Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

We are witness to tremendous growth and awareness of 3D technologies such as laser scanning, reality capture and scan-to-BIM. The advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to simulate planning, design, construction, and operation of a facility helps reduce costs, save time, improve processes and safety for various end users such as construction managers, general contractors, architects and engineers will drastically increase the requirement of accurate, high definition as-built, "as-is" digital data to populate their BIM.

Laser scanning to BIM is recognized as the most efficient and accurate method to obtain this information however indoor mapping has been the elusive "holy grail" due to lack of GPS or "Localization" element unattainable indoors.

Recently, there has been considerable excitement about the use of technology from the robotics and autonomous vehicle industries for indoor mapping where GPS or GNSS are not available. Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) technology was developed in the robotics and autonomous vehicle industries to simultaneously map and navigate through an unknown environment.

SLAM is an algorithm that utilizes information from sensors such as Lidar or cameras to compute a best estimate of the device's location and a map of the environment. SLAM by itself does not produce a point cloud ... initially it calculates a 2D trajectory issued from two-dimensional measurements. Additional algorithms generate a 3D trajectory from the coupling of additional embedded sensors. To enable fast and accurate indoor mapping and mapping in challenging surroundings, LiDAR companies are implementing SLAM to develop mobile 3D measurement systems for building interiors. The entire process chain allows the technology to accurately map the environment, even on irregular terrains and the resultant point clouds can be exported in standard formats and exploitable in CAD, GIS and BIM software.

We live in a 3D world and it is just a matter of time before it is recorded in 3D digitally. This has been a challenge due to the lack of GPS or GNSS signals indoors. The demand for fast 3D professional documentation, capturing reality indoors and in restricted areas continues to rise. SLAM technology is making its impact not only on the robotics and autonomous vehicle industries but enabling fast and accurate indoor mapping ....and, the race to capture the great indoors!

Until next time, Cheers!

Roland Mangold, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

A 295Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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