UAVs have revolutionized exploration and drone research has made its way to everyday life of scientists, businesses, and civil services. Whether you need to monitor illegal mining under dense canopy coverage, create a 3D topography map, or analyze wildfire’s destruction, drones are here to help. With modern LiDAR sensors technology, sky is no limit. It’s a new possibility.
LiDAR sensors technology
LiDAR Prometheus (Light Detection And Ranging) is also known as a 3D laser scanning technology. It sends a laser beam to target an area and uses the difference in return time and wavelength to create high-resolution maps and digital elevation models. LiDAR is widely used in mapping ocean floor and landscape topography. Some of the advantages among similar solutions include ability to perform night scans, high accuracy, and independence from weather conditions.
LiDAR sensors used in Prometheus has a 200 kHz laser pulse repetition rate (PRR) and multiple target capability. It provides a dense point pattern, which as a result enables acquiring data on small objects from distance. Even those covered by forest or hidden in the ground, such as illegal mines. The wavelength is also optimized and exceptionally reliable in mapping glaciers and snowy terrains. For example in Svalbard, scientists used drones to map and model glaciers. They were able to distinguish small channels altering texture of the ice. This information doesn’t sound like much, but in fact helped with understanding the overall energy balance of glaciers.
Terrestrial and underground topography
Three-dimensional models are useful in numerous fields: forestry, archeology, agriculture, landscaping, archeology, and geology in general. Drones like Prometheus are frequently utilized to obtain explicit footage, which can be sent to the server in real time. This brings a lot of promise for research, which now can be done quicker and with higher precision. Data collected by drones is already used to put satellite imagery into context by comparing and integrating the footage from different scales. Moreover, UAVs with are finding long lost, ancient cities, buried under the ground. Who knows, maybe with some luck we can still locate the Atlantis?
Traditional site survey methods require a lot of labor and are often ineffective, due to limited access and tools. Thankfully, drones are here to take over and perform aerial research. Remote and dangerous locations are no longer an issue. And with 3D models that LiDAR sensors provides, researchers can collect data otherwise unattainable. For instance, foresters use drone research for getting information on forest attributes. Monitoring canopy coverage and gaps, carbon storage or measuring inventory among others. Extensive site surveys after wildfires take now shorter time and provide more precise data on the damage. Also, in civil engineering drones proved their worth in damage control after natural disasters, saving tons of time and money.