LIDAR Changes the Game
Posted on: October 3, 2014

Geospatial Intelligence Forum
Peter Buxbaum
October 3rd 2014

After proving invaluable to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology is growing in its capabilities and on track to assume an even greater role in the military operations of the future.

The uncontested skies over Southwest Asia gave the U.S. military free reign to use airborne LiDAR sensors to develop terrain models of the area, while encouraging industry partners to develop new and innovative ways to collect, analyze and disseminate LiDAR data.

Several airborne LiDAR systems have been deployed in Afghanistan for tactical imaging purposes for missions such as nighttime terrain mapping. The success of these systems in active military operations has spawned many recent LiDAR innovations—from sensors to software—and will likely lead to increased usage of imaging LiDAR in the years ahead.

LiDAR uses laser light pulses to gauge distances by measuring the time delay between transmission of the pulse and detection of the reflected signal. A range finder mounted on an aircraft collects the data and provides location information on an x-y-z axis known as a point cloud.

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