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International LiDAR Mapping Forum 2012

Mark Alonzo

Last week I attended the ILMF show just down the road in Denver, CO.  One of the big topics at the show was the National Enhanced Elevation Project (NEEP).  This project is sponsored by organizations such as NDEP, USGS, NGA, FEMA, and NRCS, and will assess requirements and benefits versus costs for a better, comprehensive, LiDAR elevation data set across the United States.  A NEEP study looked at different business uses for elevation-based coverage and assessed the data quality and return frequency needs of the various stakeholders.  The study concluded that it was far more beneficial and efficient to combine efforts in acquiring LiDAR data across the U.S. than for individual stakeholders to work independently.  The study has not been fully completed and it will be interesting to see if they conclusion of NEEP will change and how it will impact U.S. elevation data.

Other interesting topics I encountered at ILMF include:

  • Mobile Mapping & LiDAR data – With applications ranging from transportation planning to mapping road conditions and traffic signals, it will be interesting to see how applications of mobile LiDAR will change how LiDAR is analyzed and what industries employ the data.
  • Advances in aquatic LiDAR sensors – Optech’s new Aquarius sensor will provide easier access to LiDAR data around shorelines and shallow water, the range of applications for this type of data seem very open ended at this early stage.
  • Data Fusion – how can LiDAR be fused with optical and geospatial data to improve data analysis results and the information derived from all types of data?

There was an extraordinary amount of valuable information at ILMF about LiDAR and new applications for the data.  What new or emerging applications for LiDAR do you think will have the biggest impact in the next year?

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