Technology. A boon to humankind that is currently driving the world. Tech innovations have been causing an exponential transformation in our lifestyles. From our fingertips to outer space – its presence has been scrolling and hovering, taking new shapes every day. But, if used unbefittingly, it can turn into a bane, with a very thin line of isolation.
We at Beforest believe in walking hand-in-hand with technological innovations and have been constantly applying them to our forest-friendly collectives. When working with large chunks of land (100 Ac+), some operations can take a long time to execute, like clearing the land, hydrology studies, contour mapping and surveying, to name a few. We are at the initial stages of farm operations at the Poomaale 2.0 Collective, our new wilderness collective in Coorg. The land survey of the 100-acre estate was estimated to take a few weeks to complete. But being the tech lovers that we are, we decided to go carry out the survey of the diverse landscape with LiDAR.
What is LiDAR?
LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It is a remote-sensing technology that uses laser light to measure and map the physical features of the environment. LiDAR systems emit laser pulses that bounce off objects and return to a sensor, which then calculates the distance between the objects and the sensor based on the time it took for the laser to travel to the object and back. This information can be used to create detailed 3D maps and models of the environment, which can be helpful in various applications such as self-driving cars, archaeology, forestry, and urban planning.
How is LiDAR Technology Used in Surveying?
LiDAR technology is used extensively in surveying because it provides highly accurate and detailed information about the terrain and topography of a given area. Surveyors use LiDAR to collect data on elevation, slope, and other features of the land to create accurate maps and models for a variety of applications.
In surveying, LiDAR is typically mounted on an aircraft or drone, and the laser beams are directed towards the ground. The sensor then measures the time it takes for the laser to bounce back to the aircraft, allowing it to create a precise 3D map of the terrain. This data can be used to identify the location and elevation of different features such as buildings, roads, trees, and bodies of water, which is then used to create detailed topographic maps and other surveying products.
LiDAR technology is instrumental in areas that are difficult or dangerous to access, such as mountainous regions or remote areas with thick vegetation. By providing accurate and detailed information about the land, LiDAR can help surveyors and other professionals make informed decisions about land use, infrastructure planning, and natural resource management.
What equipment is used in LiDAR Surveying?
LiDAR surveys typically require specialized equipment for data collection and processing. The main equipment used in a LiDAR survey includes:
LiDAR sensor: This is the core component of the system, which emits laser pulses towards the ground and measures the time it takes for them to bounce back, creating a precise 3D map of the terrain. LiDAR sensors can be mounted on aircraft, drones, or ground-based vehicles.
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS): GNSS equipment is used to precisely locate the LiDAR sensor and the aircraft or drone carrying it. This allows the LiDAR data to be accurately geo-referenced, which is essential for creating accurate topographic maps.
Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): IMUs are used to measure the position, velocity, and orientation of the LiDAR sensor and the aircraft or drone carrying it. This information is used to create accurate 3D models of the terrain.
Control Points: Control points are markers placed on the ground with known coordinates, which are used to calibrate and validate the LiDAR data.
Data processing software: Specialized software is used to process the raw LiDAR data collected during the survey and convert it into accurate topographic maps, digital terrain models, and other survey products.
Overall, LiDAR surveys require a range of specialized equipment to collect and process accurate and detailed data about the terrain and topography of a given area.
How is LiDAR Surveying Carried Out?
LiDAR surveys typically involve the following steps:
Planning: The survey team determines the area to be surveyed, identifies the objectives of the survey, and decides on the equipment and data collection methods to be used.
Data Collection: LiDAR equipment is installed on an aircraft or drone, which then flies over the survey area while emitting laser pulses towards the ground. The sensor measures the time it takes for the pulses to bounce back, creating a precise 3D map of the terrain.
Data Processing: The raw data collected by the LiDAR equipment is processed using specialized software, which filters out any noise or extraneous data and creates a point cloud representing the surveyed area. The point cloud is then used to create a digital terrain model, which shows the elevation and contours of the terrain.
Data Analysis: The digital terrain model and other survey products are analyzed by the survey team to identify features such as buildings, roads, trees, and bodies of water. This information is used to create detailed topographic maps and other surveying products, which are then used to make informed decisions about land use, infrastructure planning, and natural resource management.
Overall, LiDAR surveys provide highly accurate and detailed information about the terrain and topography of a given area, making them a valuable tool for a wide range of applications, including land surveying, urban planning, and natural resource management.
We are currently at the Data Collection stage in the LiDAR survey process of the Poomaale 2.0 Collective in Coorg. Nestled amidst the Western Ghats, the landscape is full of flowing streams and lush greens. Hence, drone survey acts as an effective way of carrying out a topographic survey of the landscape. We are looking forward to carrying out the next steps of the survey process.