Terrestrial LiDAR

  • 1 Jan, 2014
  • Mark Zeman

A recent evolution in mapping is terrestrial LiDAR, which uses land-based sensors to obtain extremely precise 3D, high-resolution imagery. Unlike aerial imagery acquisition or LiDAR, terrestrial LiDAR is acquired using LiDAR sensors mounted on tripods in the mapping area. The LiDAR sensors use the same process as airborne LiDAR: a sensor emits pulses of light and measures the time of the reflected return to compute coordinates.

While they cannot cover vast areas quickly, terrestrial LiDAR provides significantly higher resolutions, can map features obscured from the air, and is economical to operate. A system scans in a 360-degree radius from the instrument, and some have a radius of 1,500 meters. Multiple scans of an area are often required to obtain data of all sides of features.

As with airborne LiDAR, the data from terrestrial LiDAR forms a point cloud; often it is necessary to obtain data from multiple point clouds at different locations in order to obtain complete, sufficient coverage of an area.

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