What Can LiDAR Data Be Used For?

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What Can LiDAR Data Be Used For?

The new iPhone 12 includes a LiDAR scanner which can help improve the time it takes for a photo, and allows for rapid focusing in darker conditions. Most people have not had experience with LiDAR in the past but this technology has been around for 60 years. The technology was even used to help map the moon during the Apollo 15 mission which took place in 1971. The following are various areas where LiDAR data can be used. 

LiDAR stands for light detection and ranging which uses light to detect objects to create a digital point cloud. The following are various things that LiDAR data can be used for:

  • LiDAR can help the agriculture businesses find areas that are best suited for growing. Flying a drone with LiDAR can help gather this data incredibly quickly. There is also technology that can help note which crops might need more water or nutrients. 
  • Archeology has been impacted by LiDAR as it can help identify hidden structures around the world. Finding these structures in areas that are difficult to access is quite common. 
  • Astronomy uses LiDAR as NASA even used the technology to help explore Mars. This also helps create a map of the alien planet and could even detect precipitation like snow that was falling. Understanding these things is important when trying to detect if life would be viable on alien planets. The data that can be generated can help image planets in such a way that was impossible in the past. 
  • Climate scientists have been using LiDAR to study the frequent changes within the atmosphere. Botanists have used it to help track patterns in certain areas. Understanding growth patterns of certain plants in a specific area is important. 
  • Land management uses this in order to do disaster assessment after a storm or earthquake. This is essential as driving to assess this might not be possible but with technology like a drone, there are no safety concerns as a drone can be replaced, unlike a human life. Resources on a piece of land can also be a part of the data set. There could be areas that have no access by land or boat after a disaster. The drones will be able to assess the damage as a landslide could have taken away the only route by land. 
  • The oil industry uses this to detect oil and gas deposits. Pipeline inspection is also done with LiDAR as a damaged pipe can lead to an environmental disaster. 
  • LiDAR helps the renewable energy industry in a variety of ways. LiDAR data can assist surveyors and energy companies determine the best place for a solar farm.
  • LiDAR is used in autonomous vehicles to help detect the distance between other cars and objects to avoid while driving. This shows the speed at which the data can be gathered, translated, and a decision is made by a vehicle. Data has shown that there would be a large reduction in accidents if everyone had an autonomous vehicle. 

Look for data to become an even larger part of daily life in the coming years. The ease of collecting data will also become of paramount importance. LiDAR can allow massive amounts of data to be gathered in a short period of time. Look for this technology to enter into your daily life within the next decade. Drones have already entered the lives of a number of people in their personal and professional lives. The footage that can be taken of an area with a drone can make for great introductions for television and travel programs.