Experts based throughout Quebec offer their opinion regarding the use of a new technology that seems to revolutionize land surveying, LiDAR.
In 2016, LiDAR, also known as a detection system and laser range which allows terrestrial, airbone, or mobile scanning, and provides detailed digital models of terrain, also records landscape in 3D. Thus, surveys generate data that will be analyzed in a software like VisionLiDAR.
LiDAR technology facilitates the measurement of a high density of points covering wide areas. By using it, natural interpretation becomes less ambiguous because of the accuracy of the data, thereby reducing costs compared to a traditional survey type. “Today, scanners are sold for $35,000 (CAD) while, 5 years ago, we bought ours for more than $130,000 (CAD)”, is astonished Alexandre Gagne, President of Geomog, a firm specialized in surveying.
Vital Roy, land surveyor, says that there is “a lot of people who can acquire this kind of device, but surveyors have a great advantage in the positioning. Especially to analyze and talk about the results of a major survey after working into the point cloud. Acquire a point cloud is one thing, but learn how to analyze the results, that’s another story”, he says.
When deciding to use LiDAR technology, it’s good to think about the adjustment period to associate the digitization based on LiDAR to the interpretation in the field. Moreover, the education of the teams, the use of software to handle many points like VisionLiDAR, and always being informed of the latest technological improvement, to facilitate the development of firms and the market.
“In 20 years, it has evolved so much that it is now possible to do a statement of over one million points per second within 5mm accuracy”, adds Alexandre Gagne. Mr. Gagne mainly handles LiDAR data in civil engineering. However, he said that the technology can be used by both engineers and land surveyors. “Several tools are used depending on the projects. With VisionLiDAR, we realize the picket points. VisionLiDAR is used to manipulate the point cloud and sting points: like a streetlight, a sidewalk, remove items that should not be there. So we work less outside, more in our office, and instead of poking points traditionally, we do it with our mouse in VisionLiDAR”, he says.
Reaping the results and analyzing them, it’s also the role of Topo 3D, a firm specialized in terrestrial LiDAR in Quebec, which recently acquired a drone. “It helps to bring the technology rapidly into professional services offered to surveyors, engineers, and to the industry”, says Cedric Pelletier, GIS specialist for this young growing company based in Boucherville. “We started as a construction surveying company, and we had to adapt the scanner to perform conventional survey work so we could develop expertise by working on more advanced projects with clients such as Cirque du Soleil”, explains Jonathan Bouffard, Projects Manager at Topo 3D. “In Quebec, there are still a lot of education work to do, and we should start by explaining to the client that it will save him time even if, initially, it costs more than a traditional survey. For example, in the first year, customers, like manufacturers, have saved more because the extracted data contained much fewer errors”, justifies Mr. Pelletier.
LiDAR represents a breakthrough for professionals, particularly in terms of security. Jonathan Duguay, junior engineer and GIS specialist at Geo-Plus, says that “it’s no longer obliged to have someone where the point is. The point cloud will have all the objects that you want to make up the inventory or to do the map of the self-existent. The vast amount of data collected avoid a return to the field, and the number of points allows us to make a digital 3D model almost photorealistic. In statements, on a larger scale, such as roads statements, we can get more points in less time.” Mr. Duguay believes how important it is for professional land surveyors to get a scanner, because, “if the team doesn’t have a LiDAR scanner, the firm risks losing some of its market to the civil engineers.” For him,“land surveying is changing and the land surveyor must evolve with the market. In 5 to 10 years, it’ll be possible to scan from our smart phones, due to the miniaturization of processes used to fetch a large number of points very quickly on the ground.”
LiDAR software will also continue to evolve. Therefore, VisionLiDAR already offers automatic objets detection, and automatic virtual surveying. Thanks to these features, vectorization becomes much easier. What is the purpose of Geo-Plus today ? Democratize the use of point clouds to use LiDAR technology intelligently and efficiently.
To find out more about VisionLiDAR, order your FREE trial version here