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LiDAR Technology & How It Works

What is LiDAR?

LIDAR stands for light detection and ranging, it is an active form of remote sensing. It records laser pulses that strike the object and back to the sensor creating realistic models with precise detail.

Believe it or not, it was actually first used back in the 1960's when they mounted laser scanners to airplanes. Now that technology has advanced and its scope has had an impact on many industries, LiDAR is slowly taking over mapping as we know it.

LiDAR Technology

There are three main components to LiDAR technology systems: the scanner, laser, and GPS receiver. Today, many government and other public or private organizations use helicopters, small airplanes, or drones to collect this type of data.

LiDAR uses a pulsed laser to calculate an object’s variable distances from the earth surface. These light pulses generate accurate 3D information about the earth surface and the target object.

Types of LiDAR Systems

Airborne LiDAR

Airborne LiDAR is primarily installed on a UAV (drone) or helicopter. As soon as it’s activated it emits light towards the ground surface. This then returns to the sensor immediately after hitting the object, giving an exact measurement of its distance.

Terrestrial LiDAR

Unlike Airborne LiDAR, Terrestrial systems are typically installed on moving vehicles or tripods in order to collect data. These are more common for collecting data from the inside of buildings or on highways.

How Does It Work?

LiDAR follows a simple principle — throw laser light at an object on the earth surface and calculate the time it takes to return to the LiDAR source. Technology has made it easier to calculate however it is still very technical.


Distance of the object = (Speed of Light x Time of Flight) / 2

Ecko360 Industrial is a technology company pioneering data acquisition and visualization across many products and services. We are currently building unique software programs for data visualization of LiDAR, photogrammetry, thermal, and other data.

If your business or company is ever in the need of professional mapping and data collection be sure to call the experts at ecko360 Industrial.

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