Why Add a Camera to Your Laser Scanning (LiDAR) System?

In by 3dlm_user

Laser scanning (LiDAR) technology has found a place in map-making and the generation of elevation models and surveys for airborne applications.

LiDAR is a tried and tested method to capture highly accurate 3D point clouds with a much lower noise ratio than photogrammetry. It sounds perfect, so why add a camera?

  • LIDAR does not provide color information other than near infrared (NIR). This is because the laser wavelength only operates within the NIR spectrum.
  • Objects can be difficult to understand if the point density on the ground is insufficient.
  • Details can be difficult to identify, such as the differences between a traffic light, a utility power pole or similar object.

Cameras are now commonly combined with LIDAR sensors to offer new possibilities in deliverables for clients. Objects on the ground are much easier to recognize and the fast production of orthophoto and true orthophoto images is possible.

Many LIDAR systems are purchased with additional image sensors, either digital, thermal or multi- and hyper-spectral cameras. The combination of LIDAR data (3D point cloud) and RGB image data, produces a new product that is more useful than each element by itself.

Medium format cameras offer several benefits over large format when combined with LIDAR systems.

  • The small-sized medium format cameras can use the same belly hole as the LIDAR, which represents savings in the use of an existing aircraft, without the need for expensive alterations
  • A medium format camera is a small additional expense compared to the LIDAR but is capable of significantly contributing to the end product.
  • The opening angles are very close to the maximum LIDAR opening angle – making them an ideal match.
  • The medium format camera works in tandem with the LiDAR sensor and shares data from the IMU/GNSS system.

Why do we think PhaseONE medium format cameras are the best choice?

PhaseOne cameras provide colour and detail of the highest resolution, which do not exist in LIDAR data. We pride ourselves on selecting the very best laser scanning sensors in the technology that we sell, so selecting the PhaseONE cameras as an addition to this was a no-brainer. PhaseOne has a proven track record worldwide and their cameras have been successfully integrated with all major brands of LIDAR – including RIEGL.

Adding a PhaseOne camera to their LiDAR system enables our customers to augment their revenue by providing new products to end users such as orthophotos and coloured point clouds.

Visit our Open Day on Thursday 7th April 2016 – We will be showcasing the brand new 100Mega Pixel iXU/iXA cameras from PhaseONE and our technical team will be available to answer any questions you may have. It’s completely free and there will of course be biscuits!

Further Information

Contact us to set up a demo or find out more

Read how Italian data acquisition company, Birdview Srl. is using a combination of RIEGL LiDAR and a PhaseONE camera 

Read the Medium Format and LiDAR Technology Report from PhaseONE Industrial

Visit our PhaseOne webpage