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GTourism Mapping G Airborne Topographic Laser Scanners

G SuperMap G Autodesk Topobase


Magazi ne f or Sur veyi ng, Mappi ng & GI S Pr of essi onal s
January/February
2
0
1
1
Volume 14
1
Book Review
All Things Location
As Google had it, location is just one way of presenting data. The good news is
that this concept is pervasive and the message is still being spread all over the
world. As you can read in Graham Wallace's contribution in this magazine,
growing data volumes is one prediction for the new year. With the mobile phone
market not yet being saturated, I expect many interesting developments in this
market segment in regard to geospatial techniques. But can digital maps, provided
through an app on one's iPhone, substitute paper maps? This question is the topic
of Florian Fischer's contribution to this rst edition of 2011.
But not only are we occupied with the possibilities of outdoor location, indoor
location will be a major topic as well for the future. Partly because mobile phone
users won't accept the fact that indoor location is not yet possible to the amount as
they are used to outside. And not only the consumer market is interested, the geospa-
tial industry as a whole will benet from better indoor positioning techniques. What
I'm also very interested in, is how other industries, such as the medical world, will
apply techniques that originate from the geospatial industries. I'd be interested in
knowing how both industries supplement each other by using different techniques
and methods. From what I've heard, major geospatial events such as Intergeo are
diversifying in terms of serving different markets and I think this is a good thing. All
things are locational indeed.
This statement goes also for the design industry. When the news was out that
Autodesk disbanded its GIS division, one could easily think that GIS and design
don't go together. But the opposite is true: by strengthening the bond between the
two, a better symbiosis can be reached than before. Architects learning how to
design in a real-world environment rather than in an abstract space, for example.
I have the feeling that in both world a lot can be won by a better integration, and
this goes for many companies beside Autodesk. More about this topic in the next
issue. For now, I hope this magazine gives you an idea of things the shape of things
to come.
Enjoy your reading!
Eric van Rees
evanrees@geoinformatics.com
GeoInformatics is the leading publication for Geospatial
Professionals worldwide. Published in both hardcopy and
digital, GeoInformatics provides coverage, analysis and
commentary with respect to the international
surveying, mapping and GIS industry.
GeoInformatics is published 8 times a year.
Editor-in-chief
Eric van Rees
evanrees@geoinformatics.com
Copy Editor
Frank Arts
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Editors
Florian Fischer
fscher@geoinformatics.com
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hlekkerkerk@geoinformatics.com
Remco Takken
rtakken@geoinformatics.com
Joc Triglav
jtriglav@geoinformatics.com
Contributing Writers:
Wayne Smith, Florian Fischer, Kevin R. Jones,
Oliver Eitel, Matteo G. Luccio, Graham Wallace,
Remco Takken, Gordon Petrie, Geoff Jacobs,
Sian Orchard, Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk
Financial Director
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nance@geoinformatics.com
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Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
At the cover:
Aerial image of Orly Aeroport, Paris, France.
This image was captured by S.T.I. (Socit Topographie
Informatique) using the Microsoft UltraCam.
See article at page 24.
C o n t e n t
Ar t i c l e s
Geo-fused Video 6
Tourism Mapping 10
Fugro Mapping Project in Algeria 14
Managing Highways Smarter 16
GIS Integration Dream 18
Location Based Imaging-Solution 22
Aerial Surveying at Airports 24
SuperMap 32
Airborne Topographic Laser Scanners 34
C o l u mn
All Change 28
Indoor Positioning and GPS 53
R e v i e ws
OpenStreetMap 30
Book on Web GIS 52
E v e n t s
Leica Geosystems 46
European LiDAR Mapping Forum 50
C a l e n d a r / Ad v e r t i s e r s I n d e x 54
14
6
Unmanned aerial vehicle
(UAV) flights fill obvious needs
in the defence and intelligence
world. However, Intergraph
Corporation believes that full
motion video isnt just for def-
ence anymore.
10
15
Three Fugro Operating
Companies joined hands to
carry out the task of mapping
a remote, inaccessible area in
the Algerian desert. The pro-
ject brought along a number
of logistic and operational
challenges for Fugro Aerial
Mapping.
Recently several portals and
apps have appeared on the
market, which provide essen-
tial information before, during
and after outdoor activities -
even in real-time. Are they able
to hold a candle to the classic
type of trail map?
18
The Geological Survey
of Norway makes use
of PCIs new
GeoImaging Tools for
ArcGIS to reduce the
cost of mapping the
bedrock in the
Rogaland region of
Norway.
32
SuperMap is a Chinese GIS
company that has its sights set
on Europe. During last years
INTERGEO event in Cologne, a
distribution contract was sig-
ned, guaranteeing distribution
of SuperMap products within
the Benelux and eventual sales
in corresponding countries.
34
The recent Intergeo 2010
conference and trade fair
and the ELMF 2010 forum
and exhibition have both
served to highlight the
many new developments
that have been taking place
in airborne topographic
laser scanners.
46
3D laser scanning industry
provider Leica Geosystems
held its 8th annual worldwide
conference for users of its
High-Definition Surveying
(HDS)
laser scanners and software.
24
Socit Topographie
Informatique (STI) based in
Evry, near Paris, France spe-
cializes in topography, photo-
grammetry, and aerial photo-
graphy. After purchasing the
UltraCamL, STI won a contract
to fly Charles de Gaulle and
Orly airports in Paris.
F
or example, maybe analysts in China
can study video data taken over a dam
to determine its safety and maintenance
needs. Perhaps a transportation agency in
the U.S. can analyze aerial video to identi-
fy where a roadway repair is required, or if
an obstruction is hindering the right-of-way.
Or maybe a European utility can use it to
determine where vegetation needs trimming
to protect power lines and infrastructure.
Other examples could include:
Inspecting gas and oil pipelines
Surveillance of piracy
Controlling borders between countries
Monitoring snow accumulations for
avalanche control
Managing forest re resources
Enhancing law enforcement capabilities.
Those are just a few examples of how
Intergraph envisions industries using its new
Motion Video Exploitation solution. Global
positioning satellites and the Internet are two
important examples of technologies initially
developed for military applications, but then
transcended to the civilian space. These two
technology sets have dramatically transformed
government, business, and personal lives. UAV
technology is also expected to have a substan-
tial impact in non-military sectors and will expe-
rience rapid growth in the coming years.
We think its easier for us to move into the
commercial market than it may be for some of
A New Standard for Analyzing Geospatial Intelligence
Geo-fused Video
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights fill obvious needs in the defence and intelligence world. However,
Intergraph Corporation believes that full motion video isnt just for defence anymore.
6
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Wayne Smith
Display/store tracking graphics for geospatial reference and archival query.
our competitors because we already have the
GeoMedia foundation, said Elaine Wood -
ling, Intergraph Product Manager for Geo -
spatial Data Management and Exploitation
Products. What weve done is add video
analysis on top of any data we can already
exploit within the GeoMedia environment,
such as vector, imagery, and terrain. Video is
integrated into what we do its just a new
geospatial data format.
Whether the analysis of full motion video is
related to military, security, utility, transporta-
tion, or emergency response situations, the
analytical challenges are similar. The person
making the decision needs to have the most
relevant information to enable operational
planning. Advances in technology can help
governments and organizations meet the chal-
lenge of analyzing todays overwhelming vol-
umes of collected data.
The Quest for Intelligence
When discussing video intelligence,
Woodling likes to trace the history of geospa-
tial intelligence, which she says began simply
with human intelligence or HUMINT, as its
known in the intelligence community record-
ed from the planet surface. At that time, we
relied only on physical maps, which could
take months to produce and provided little
accuracy. In the 1900s, the development of
precision instruments and surveying equip-
ment decreased the time it took to collect and
process geospatial data, while also increas-
ing accuracy. With enhanced accuracy came
new types of information, such as contours
and slope polygons.
Intelligence gathering capabilities increased
with aerial photography. Cameras on air-
planes could capture images and project them
to the terrain, leading to photogrammetric
exploitation of data. This allowed us to mea-
sure accuracy and provided new products for
analysis, including color separation, pan
sharpening, and stereo imagery. This simpli-
ed the use of geospatial intelligence, but it
could still take days or weeks to produce maps
and other products.
Satellite image exploitation extended the pho-
togrammetric algorithms of geospatial intelli-
gence. It enabled analysis of large swaths of
the terrain. In addition, the regular schedule
of data production provided more types of
analysis, including change detection and soft-
copy search. This allowed analysts to become
regional geospatial experts, while making the
digital storage and retrieval of data important.
Meanwhile, it reduced map production time
to hours.
UAVs, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS),
were the next step in gathering geospatial
intelligence. They provided a birds eye view
of an area and were more cost effective than
cameras on airplanes, although data was not
projected to the terrain and provided only visu-
ally measurable accuracy. UAV loitering deliv-
ered more analytical tools, such as patterns
of life. However, a lack of standards and the
abundance of data made it difcult to retrieve
specic information. Only recently have the
standards for full motion video metadata
advanced enough to allow for the leap-ahead
technology of geo-fusion.
Geo-fused Exploitation
Intergraphs Motion Video Exploitation (MVE)
solution integrates UAV data within its
GeoMedia foundation. The solution combines
aerial photos, satellite images, and surface
analytics with streaming video for a complete
offering of intelligence data. Combining many
disparate forms of geospatial data into a sin-
gle, integrated view is the hallmark of the
GeoMedia product line. In addition,
Intergraphs technology for geospatial content
management creates a video and still-image
warehouse. With this powerful combination,
analysts can:
1. Measure accuracy with data projected to
the terrain
2. Integrate data with other intelligence
3. Retrieve and analyze data more easily using
metadata and telemetry
4. Produce reports in minutes, or even seconds.
The solution geo-fused video delivers a new
standard for analyzing geospatial intelligence.
We can integrate this video with all other types
of data, Woodling said. Were the only ones
who can do that because GeoMedia offers a
unique environment for geo-fusing all kinds of
data. Previously, it was difcult to nd video
after it was stored. Now, you can go back and
retrieve in by location, date, time, etc.
This capability helps users meet a critical
requirement for geospatial content manage-
ment the ability to nd what they want to
view. Users can manage all of their geospatial
intelligence in a single environment, geo-fus-
ing video together with multiple types of stan-
dardized data.
Motion Video Exploitation enhances defence
and intelligence technology by providing
another dimension to the intelligence analysts
repertoire: video geospatial orientation. The
analyst can visualize full motion video geo-
fused with imagery, raster maps, and signal
intelligence data to increase situational aware-
ness by providing a complete operational pic-
ture.
Instead of searching through video to nd a
particular time or segment, intelligence ana-
lysts can choose from 250 different attributes
to select the video they want to watch. The ana-
lyst can generate geo-referenced clipmarks
saved in an enterprise database. This makes
these video notations valuable as intelligence
information in and of themselves: available for
archival research for years to come. The nota-
tions can be queried by geospatial location,
textual content, or temporal attributes.
You can visually specify what part of the video
you want to play, which makes great use of
the GIS environment, Woodling said. For
example, the user can visually identify a sec-
tion of the video centerline representation on
the map to dene what part of the video they
want to play. Intergraph is the rst company to
marry this type of graphic interface to the view-
ing of a video.
Analysts can also generate still images from a
motion video frame or mosaic images from
multiple frames for use in image analysis tech-
niques, such as change detection or for use in
reports. Users can compare images from dif-
ferent time periods to detect changes. Visually,
Display/store tracking graphics for geospatial reference and archival query.
Ar t i c l e
7
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
its just easier to see whats moving, said
Woodling. With a live mosaic and video pro-
jected immediately, you can easily tell.
The MVE solution can apply to multiple indus-
tries, particularly in countries that have relaxed
UAV restrictions. For example, the British police
want to use UAVs to monitor massive crowds
during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
In border patrol, analysts can study UAV
images to note changes in data, such as locat-
ing a developing path where illegal aliens are
crossing the border. Foresters can use full
motion video to study drought regions over
time to help manage and restore forests. UAVs
can also be used during weather emergencies,
such as to monitor an area to identify a poten-
tial snowslide.
Unlocking the Power of Full
Motion Video
Many countries are developing and purchas-
ing UAS vehicles. The U.S. and NATO allies
are the largest and most developed markets.
According to a Frost & Sullivan report, total
UAS spending in the European market in
2010 was projected at US$1.4 billion.
Leveraging full motion video is one of todays
most pressing intelligence challenges. The abil-
ity to nd targets in real time is one of the most
important milestones of modern warfare.
Today, an increasing number of sensors and
other collection devices collect volumes of
data on a daily basis. However, the capacity
to analyze that data has not kept pace, mak-
ing it crucial for analysts to make the most
effective use of video intelligence. With full
motion video, analysts can better make deci-
sions, such as determining the direction of
movement for an object of interest and where
it originated. These determinations are dif-
cult to make from satellite or aerial still
imagery.
Motion video intelligence systems can provide
an advantage by effectively integrating video
imagery and geospatial features. In addition,
geospatial content management is becoming
a necessity, not a luxury. It doesnt matter how
much data you have if you cant nd it when
you need it.
Intergraphs MVE solution leverages motion
video resources, giving analysts the ability to
collect, extract, analyze, and maximize video
assets. This solution provides an end-to-end
workow for managing and exploiting video
from automatic data ingest capabilities to
enhancements and corrections of the video,
to placing clipmarks and geo-fusing it with
other types of intelligence to facilitate com-
plete reports. Finally, the video can be stored
and queried with all other geo-referenced
enterprise content. The solution yields current,
actionable intelligence in a highly dynamic
intelligence landscape.
Intergraphs roadmap for future development
of the solution includes plans for video
pixel/location tracking, or object tracking.
This would enable analysts to identify an
object a truck, for example and track it
through video to automatically determine
movement.
Internet: www.intergraph.com
Ar t i c l e
8
January/February 2011
Conference on 3D Imaging & Positioning for Engineering/Construction/Manufacturing/Security
Where 3D Innovators Connect
SPAR2011
March 2124, 2011
Houston, Texas
The Woodlands Waterway
Marriott Hotel & Convention Center
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas
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Just a few of the 60+ Presenters
and Panelists will include
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2010 Ashtech LLC. All rights reserved. The Ashtech logo and MobileMapper are trademarks of Ashtech, LLC.
All other products and brand names are trademarks of their respective holders.
Features

Handheld sub-meter, decimeter


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Digital Geomedia vs. Paper Maps
Tourism Mapping
Recently several portals and apps have appeared on the market, which provide essential information
before, during and after outdoor activities - even in real-time. Are they able to hold a candle to the
classic type of trail map? One such portal is www.komoot.de that can be used for individual route
planning for outdoor activities. Florian Fischer met up with Tobias Hallermann, co-founder of the Berlin-
based portal Komoot to discuss if the time is up for the paper map.
Paper Maps - More Than
Nostalgia?
Every summer, since I was a young child, my
parents and I spend some wonderful weeks
in a small valley in Tyrol. Hence hiking
became and remains one of my most com-
mon leisure activities as I still live quite close
to the Alps. Although I feel very much at
home in the Alps, the hiking map has been
a mandatory part of my equipment on every
tour, then and today. A paper map like this
provides an important foundation for the
preparation of a hike, assists with essential
and spontaneous decisions during the tour,
and is studied with fellow hikers back in the
mountain lodge. An occasional look at the
hiking map facilitates a feeling of safety and
provides vision and awareness for the some-
times undiscerning and imponderable sur-
roundings. At times where my smartphone is
an established companion on hiking tours as
well, this gloried adulation of the paper
map seems to be a bit of nostalgia.
Tobias Hallermann from the outdoor portal
Komoot recently conducted a study on infor-
mation behavior in outdoor tourism to help
lift the fog of nostalgia. His study gave an
initial spark to our meeting.
Hiking Maps are still the First
Choice for Orientation
The study covered the information behavior
of 500 participants who regularly perform
outdoor activities. They rank internet plat-
forms as the primary information source for
an overview and the planning of outdoor
activities and events. In second place is the
hiking guide and paper maps, already far
ahead of the websites of the holiday desti-
nations and tourism agencies. For most
respondents the hiking map is still the rst
choice for orientation information during a
trip, digital maps are used more as an
exception rather than the rule. Information
reliance is an important aspect for the plan-
ning and performance of outdoor activities
in this regard. Friends and personal
acquaintances are considered far more trust-
worthy than tourism agencies and even
more than professional guides and internet
platforms as well. The respondents consider
friends as trustworthy because they have the
ability to appreciate personal requirements
and give individual advice.
10
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Florian Fischer
Team of the Berlin-based outdoor platform Komoot
Only a small share of respondents uses
mobile phones for outdoor activities, while
30 percent of all respondents have a GPS-
ready mobile phone. Today most mobile
phones that come to market have integrated
GPS devices. Thus the market penetration is
likely to increase even further within the next
few years. According to The Nielsen
Company, US smartphone penetration will
be over 50% in 2011. Most of them will be
equipped with GPS devices and ready for
complex outdoor applications. Maps and
navigation are already among the most pop-
ular functions for smartphones today.
Komoot - Human Centric
Navigation
Mostly for people aged fty plus, the car nav-
igation system marks the starting point for
their use of digital geomedia. Consequently,
they expect the same level of usability and
comfort from geomedia for outdoor activities
as they get from their car navigation systems.
A consequence of the study is then a demand
for better usability and dedication towards
user-generated content because of a higher
degree of trust if tourists instead of tourism
agencies recommend excursions for other
sightseers. For that reason social media even-
tually becomes an important marketing chan-
nel for tourist service providers, be it an own
platform or a presence on popular platforms
at least. In summary, applications in outdoor
tourism must be more responsive to the indi-
vidual requirements of the users, as Tobias
Hallermann states, namely in all phases of
an outdoor activity from planning, to being
outdoors, to arriving back home. He and
his business partner took this implication for
the design of the www.komoot.de platform
and referred to it as human centric naviga-
tion.
At rst glance Komoot is a tour portal like
GPSies (www.gpsies.com) or Wandermap
(www.wandermap.net). They offer user-gen-
erated tours for hiking, biking and even ski
tours based on the popular Google or
Microsoft mapping platforms. However
Komoot is characterized by a particular
approach that makes it a bit special. Instead
of Google or Microsoft they use raw geoda-
ta from the OSM platform and render it for
their particular purposes. In addition, they
process SRTM data to provide elevation
information and include tour information
from several other data providers. This
approach arose from the need and provi-
sion for appropriate data. Google Maps
does provide street data but no tour data at
all. Raster data are expensive and impracti-
cal for routing, and public data providers
an important source for raster data do not
have business models for private users in
many cases. These efforts for routing ser-
vices show up in the business model of
Komoot as well. The platform is basically
free for use but the routing service is subject
to a charge.
Embracing all Phases of Outdoor
Activities
In return Komoot provides two unique sell-
ing propositions. Firstly, it enables the user
to individually compose and visualize hik-
ing, biking and ski tours from a rich geo-
database by inputting details like the
desired slope and personal tness level.
Komoot does not provide any editorial rec-
ommendations except for tours recommend-
ed and reported by other users. Secondly,
the platform attempts to embrace all phases
of outdoor activities. This is something
were working on at the moment, declares
Hallermann, and adds that the focus right
now is on the planning phase. Their aim is
to divide the planning phase into simple
steps and ne tune all user requirements rst.
Within this phase ambient information about
sun, snow, temperature and vegetation will
be provided by Komoot in the future. Later
the on-tour phase will be the focus. Here an
iPhone App already exist, which shows a
map, the route and the actual position. At
the same time it is possible to export the tour
as a .gpx for use with GPS devices and to
print the map of course. Hallermann envi-
sions audio support for mountain bike tours
and vibration for hiking directions, in the
future. Complementary train and bus sta-
Ar t i c l e
11
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Planning a hiking trip with Komoot
tions as well as parking spaces might also
ease the tour planning. In the after-trip phase
the user can comment on the tours and post
the information on Komoot in order to share
their experience and present personal
achievements.
Addressing a Broad Public with
Exceptional Features
Clearly Komoot offers much more than portals
like GPSies (www.gpsies.com), which pro-
vides a huge but rather unprofessional collec-
tion of tours, and does not allow for individu-
al tour planning at all. Those platforms mostly
address the broader public interest, mass
sporting activities and amateur sportsmen.
At the moment we attract a broad public too.
People who want to go on small half-day tours
and plan for the short-term as well as the long-
term but want to have mobile support whilst
on tour, assumes Hallermann about the cur-
rent users. Clearly Komoot is in a phase of
evolution at the moment and therefore it is
unclear which target groups will be attracted
by their individual tour planning. This feature
is usually assigned to semi-professional, high-
alpine or ski-touring advocates. For these par-
ticular activities Komoot and other platforms
are hardly a substitute for the classic paper
map, says Hallermann, being an experi-
enced ski-tourer himself. Applications like
Ape@Map (www.apemap.de) and the
Ortovox Skitour App for iPhone
(www.ortovox.de) are aimed at exactly this
semi-professional user group but are normally
used as an additional source of information,
or for rough preparations by experienced ski-
tour enthusiasts.
There Might Come a Hard Time
for the Paper Map
From this perspective the paper map is far
from having served its time. There are still
many technological constraints such as bat-
tery service life. According to the intensity
of use and the outdoor temperatures, com-
mon batteries work for approximately six
hours. This is clearly not enough for an
extensive high-alpine tour. Furthermore,
many mobile tour portals need a mobile
internet connection from time to time. All
apps are built to request small data pack-
ages only but network coverage regarding
mobile internet is still not comprehensive,
particularly in high-alpine regions. Semi-pro-
fessional as well as amateur outdoor enthu-
siasts might still take the mobile app as a
supplementary gadget or the paper map as
a backup, when network coverage and bat-
tery life no longer pose a problem. Although
smartphones have larger displays, the dis-
play size still poses an immense problem
when it comes to the usual cartographic rep-
resentation of geographic information. A
map must be simple to read but still contain
all the necessary information. On the other
hand paper maps provide a broad view of
a region. This is necessary particularly for
individual tour planning where a look at the
character and features in the wider sur-
roundings of the tour area is useful before
and during the activity. Depending on the
particular sport, the requirements for the rep-
resentation of geographic information can
be very different. For mountain bike tours
audio information might be smart, but for
hiking the same audio information might be
annoying. I anticipate that different forms of
classic cartographic representation will
become more and more popular in mobile
geomedia. Next to the street-view, the navi-
gation-view or the social network-view for
geographic information we might see a hik-
ing-view to be established in the future.
However, there might be hard times ahead
for the paper map in the broad mass-tourism
industry. Tourists who enjoy easy and harm-
less leisure tours and walks might nd an
afnity with the smartphone apps that give
short and clear tips for tours. For them
Komoot is already a convenient tool for out-
door activities. Thereby the platform lives up
to its name, which originates from the aus-
tria-bavarian word komood and means
nothing more than convenient and com-
fortable.
Florian Fischer, GIS Editor and Research Assistant at the Austrian Academy
of Sciences, Institute for GIScience in Salzburg, Austria.
Study about the information behavior in outdoor tourism:
www.tourismusforschung.at/files/OutdoorStudieScreenversion.pdf
The State of Mobile Apps (nielsenwire):
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/
the-state-of-mobile-apps
Smartphones to overtake featurephones in 2011 (nielsenwire):
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/
smartphones-to-overtake-feature-phones-in-u-s-by-2011
Ar t i c l e
12
January/February 2011
Komoots iPhone App shows detailed information during the trip
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e
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.
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www.topcon.eu
The rst and only imaging station
with Through The Lens technology and 30x optical zoom.
LiDAR and Photogrammetry Combined
Fugro Mapping Project in Algeria
A recent Fugro Aerial Mapping project in In Salah, Algeria, combined Photogrammetry and LiDAR
technology. Three Fugro Operating Companies joined hands to carry out the task of mapping a remote,
inaccessible area in the Algerian desert. The project brought along a number of logistic and
operational challenges for Fugro Aerial Mapping. Director Huug Haasnoot and Robert Hoddenbach,
Operations Manager, explain this challenging project.
A
recent project of Fugro Aerial
Mapping in the In Salah region of
Algeria, was not the average map-
ping job. The location of the project brought
along a number of challenges in terms of
logistics and operational requirements. In
order to meet the expectations of the client,
three Fugro operating companies combined
their expertise to carry out the work. The
experience now gained with this operation
is of great value for Fugro and acts as a cat-
alyst for other projects in the same region.
In order to develop seven gas elds in the
In Salah region, it is necessary to build a
pipeline network which connects the seven
elds in Algeria leading with Spain and
Italy. As part of the initial planning of this
pipeline, a mapping project was carried out
by Fugro Aerial Mapping and two Fugro sis-
ter companies to determine the route of the
pipeline. In total, 2,600 square kilometers
were mapped, quite a large area.
Challenges
To make the project a success, a lot of
preparation was required. The area to be
surveyed In Salah is a central region of
Algeria which is home to some of the coun-
trys largest oil and gas reserves and pro-
duction facilities. Huug Haasnoot: The area
lies more Southerly in the Algerian dessert
than the places where we normally work,
and is quite inaccessible. Because of this,
we saw ourselves faced with a number of
operational challenges.
Before carrying out a project in such a loca-
tion a detailed safety plan needs to be
worked out. A safety risk analysis resulted,
for instance, in that Fugro could only work
during daylight hours. The remote location
meant that the fuel supply for the aircraft
needed to be worked out carefully before
operations began. Robert Hoddenbach:
There is only one commercial airport in the
area, with ights only once a week which
are always fully booked. This made it dif-
cult to get our staff on location.
In total, three different OPCOs (Operating
Companies) from the Fugros Geospatial
14
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Eric van Rees
Survey in action over town
Services Division worked together on this
project, each sending out six people to
the project area. The main contractor,
Fugro Goid from France, works a lot in
Algeria. Huug Haasnoot: They have a
local representative in Algeria, so they
know all about the local dos and donts and
are responsible for the logistics of the pro-
ject. Fugro Aerial Mapping, located in The
Netherlands, was responsible for providing
an aircraft with the FLIMAP-system and oper-
ator to acquire the LiDAR data. The third
contractor was Fugro BKS, located in
Ireland. They provided a pilot, a DMC cam-
era and an operator for the Photo -
grammetric recording.
Dealing with Heat
Once on location, various area specic cir-
cumstances had to be dealt with, says
Hoddenbach: Because there were no per-
manent reference stations available in the
area, a number of temporary base stations
were used on the ground during the sur-
veys. Safety of personnel is obviously of
prime importance: You cannot just drop
anyone in the eld. Algeria can be a dan-
gerous place. You have to work in groups,
travel in convoys and nobody was allowed
to leave the project sites on his own.
Another challenge was found in aircraft
maintenance. Hoddenbach: Proper mainte-
nance of our aircraft required that we had
to y in a maintenance mechanic. In
Algeria there are no companies that are cer-
tied for this. Part of the preparations is to
ensure that once the mechanic is in country,
all the right facilities are available for him
to do his work. With limited maintenance
facilities in Algeria, this wasnt easy. In these
cases you have to rely on the experience
Fugro has in the country.
Time was also limited: Because of the
amount of time it took to obtain all the
required permits, it was almost summer
before we were allowed to start ying. At
that time there was too much heat in the
area, not only for the survey systems but also
for our airplanes. The survey was therefore
postponed a few months until September
which further increased the time pressure to
complete the project swiftly. Despite the
mobilization in September high tempera-
tures still caused challenges. Hoddenbach:
Even though it was already autumn, the
Algerian Sahara remains a very hot place.
This means that we could only take off early
in the morning when the aircraft and sys-
tems were at acceptable temperatures.
Once the aircraft had landed there was
no possibility to take off again because
the temperature of the aircraft and equip-
ment rapidly reached level too high for
safe operations.
Operational management had to put a lot
of energy in determining the optimal plan-
ning of when to survey which area and
with which sensor. In the end the whole
survey campaign was completed in two
weeks.
LiDAR Data Filtering
After acquiring the data, the project team
demobilized to Europe. At Fugro Aerial
Mapping, the data was checked for accu-
racy using the overlaps between different
passes and terrestrial reference surveys.
After the data quality was conrmed, the
LiDAR dataset was ltered to distinguish
between ground and non-ground. Since the
data was acquired with a point density
lower than what FLI-MAP usually measures,
the standard ltering procedures had to be
adjusted. In most cases, FLIMAP surveys
result in datasets with high point density; up
to thirty points per square meter. Because
the client in Algeria wanted the data fast,
the time available for processing was short-
er than normal. Hoddenbach: The resolu-
tion was less important because of the char-
acteristics of the area and because its not
that important if a pipeline is placed a few
centimeters to the left or to the right. In the
end, the data was accepted after rst deliv-
ery and that is worth mentioning because
the project took place under extreme condi-
tions. It has been a catalyst for new projects:
we have already returned to the area three
times.
Internet: www.fugro.com
Ar t i c l e
15
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Above: Maintenance of the aircraft in Algeria
Left: Piper chieftain
Tower at InSalah Airport
Building of the pipeline network
A
tkins is an engineering and design consul-
tancy, focused on enabling customers to
respond to the complex challenges of the
world's major infrastructure projects and carbon critical design.
Established in 1938, Atkins has topped the league of UK engineering
consultancies for the last 12 years (New Civil Engineer, Consultants
File 1994-2009). With a turnover of more than 1.5bn and 20,000
staff worldwide, Atkins is ranked as the largest multi-disciplinary con-
sultancy in Europe and fourth largest in the world.
Managing Highways
In England, the Highways Agency (HA) is responsible for managing
the network of motorways and trunk roads. The HA uses Managing
Agent Contractors (MACs) to maintain these highway assets.
On 1 June 2008, Atkins became the HAs MAC sole provider for Area
6, which covers most of East Anglia. As part of their highways mainte-
nance role, Atkins is responsible for managing the drainage network.
Highway Inspectors must continuously inspect and assess the condition
of the drainage network, plan and execute routine maintenance works
and investigate incidents that may affect the drainage network.
The Challenge
Atkins Drainage Asset Inspectors must check and maintain more than
1,250 km of road network in Area 6. To do this, Inspectors need access
to accurate information about the location and condition of the drainage
network.
Previously, Inspectors had to manually search through hundreds of as-
built plans to locate assets, while condition information was stored in
spreadsheets. Finding a specic asset was a time-consuming task and
made the job inefcient. Furthermore, any modications identied in
the eld would need to be re-digitised and plans re-printed, leading to
additional work and wasted resources.
The specialist team, Atkins Geospatial, captured more than 100,000
highway asset features from As-Built drawings to the HAs Drainage
Data Standard (DMRB Vol.4 - HD43/04). Features were captured using
AutoCAD Map 3D and linked to condition information held in a stan-
dalone database via feature identiers.
Atkins Geospatial quickly recognised that the drainage information
could be more efciently managed, analysed and accessed by inspec-
tors, if the highway asset data was stored in the companys Spatial
Data Infrastructure (SDI).
The Solution
Atkins Geospatial had built SDI platform on an
Oracle database with a MapGuide Enterprise
browser viewer. After attending Topobase
Fundamentals training delivered by Autodesk
Consulting, the Geospatial Team realised that
Autodesk Topobase Web software could provide a
more effective platform for managing highways
assets based on the HAs drainage data standard.
Atkins Geospatial set about building a Drainage
Data Management System based on Autodesk
Topobase. A drainage asset data model was con-
gured based on the HAs data standard using
Autodesk Topobase Administrator. A key element
of the data model was topological connectivity for
the drainage network. Autodesk Topobase Forms were also built to pre-
sent attribute data via a structured and user-friendly interface.
Specic maintenance workows were developed, with support from
Autodesk Consulting, to enable inspectors to edit the drainage network
whilst maintaining topological connectivity. Other specic workows
were built to enable network tracing on the drainage network and to
produce specic drainage reports.
The captured as-built drainage data was migrated to Autodesk
Topobase and quality controlled against detailed Ordnance Survey
MasterMap mapping. Road scheme and other highway asset
gazetteers were constructed to support site navigation.
Atkins Geospatial now hosts the Highways Drainage Management
System for their Area 6 Highways Asset Team, and provides support to
Inspectors and other users.
The Results
Atkins Highways Drainage Management System, built on Autodesk
Topobase, helps provide Inspectors and designers with access to the
whole drainage network in Area 6. The gazetteers enable Inspectors
to search by scheme, asset features and road name, so they can more
quickly navigate to the area they need to investigate.
The web-based editing tools enable inspectors to update asset condi-
tions and modify the drainage network in accordance with eld obser-
vations. Changes are saved directly into Autodesk Topobase and are
more quickly available to the rest of the Highway Asset Management
Team, helping them to base their decisions on more accurate, real-time
information.
As Autodesk Topobase is built on industry open IT standards and stores
data in SDO geometry, the drainage asset data can be directly export-
ed for delivery to the HA in the Drainage Data Management Standard.
Inspectors can now conduct more rapid assessments of upstream and
downstream impacts of highway incidents, using the Autodesk
Topobase network tracing tools. For example, it is possible to assess
the route of pollution spills on the road surface through the drainage
network, and thereby enable more rapid management decisions to be
taken to help safeguard against run-off to local watercourses.
For more information, visit
www.autodesk.com/topobase and www.autodesk.com/consulting
Autodesk Topobase
Managing Highways Smarter
Atkins, an engineering and
design consultancy in the UK, is
using Autodesk Topobase to
help manage highways drain -
age and trace pollution inci-
dents online.
16
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Sian Orchard
742 Square Miles, 720 Images, 10 Machines,
48 Hours, 3.8 Billion Terrain Points.
Automatically Generated Point Cloud in LPS eATE
Distribute your processing and maximize your resources.
Do you need to process massive imagery datasets quickly? ERDAS empowers you
to quickly and completely process your data, reducing your overhead costs:

- Distributed Processing enables jobs to be efcIently allocated
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2011. We leverage an organizations available hardware resources,
IncreasIng productIon throughput to nIsh tasks In less tIme.

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to run multiple processes simultaneously for surges in production
needs or situations requiring faster throughput. Users can distribute demanding,
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With over 30 years of imagery expertise, ERDAS understands
the resources requIred to process and delIver InformatIon efcIently.
To learn more, please visit www.erdas.com or contact us at
info@erdas.com or +1 877 GO ERDAS.
Former Raster Nightmare
GIS Integration Dream
The Geological Survey of Norway makes use of PCIs new
GeoImaging Tools for ArcGIS to reduce the cost of mapping the
bedrock in the Rogaland region of Norway.
Satellite-based Remote Sensing
Data
The Geological Survey of Denmark (NGU) is
responsible for deriving bedrock maps as a
service to the Bedrock Mapping Unit (BMU).
Bedrock maps are essential tools used in the
exploration for mineral and hydrocarbon
deposits, to evaluate groundwater resources,
and to help determine appropriate locations
for highways, pipelines, waste disposal and
heavy industrial sites. These bedrock maps
also serve as the geological framework for
environmental assessments, land use plans,
forest inventory databases, and similar appli-
cations.
Creating and updating bedrock information
involves a process whereby eld work is
required to properly identify transition zones
and rock types to create accurate maps with
such a large area to cover, the NGU has been
assessing the potential for using satellite
remote sensing to create preliminary bedrock
maps so that scientists can spend time ren-
ing the information by visiting eld locations
where ambiguous results have been derived.
The use of satellite imagery has been found
to be very helpful, especially in geologic areas
with little soil and vegetation coveragethat
is, where there is an unobstructed view of the
bedrock from space.
In order to collect data for the identication of
boundaries between bedrock units and struc-
tures in the Rogaland Area of southwestern
Norway, NGU selected imagery collected by
the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission
and Reection Radiometer (ASTER, see text
frame), which provides very good spectral
information including thermal bands while
preserving good spatial resolution. The study
area is heavily scoured by Pleistocene ice
sheets and, as a result, is largely devoid of
signicant Quaternary soil cover, making it
an ideal testing ground for bedrock mapping
using satellite remote sensing.
Raster Nightmare
Despite the potential high quality and value
associated with the ASTER data, the NGU
found that upon receiving the imagery from the
data provider, they struggled a great deal to
integrate it into their preferred operational envi-
ronment, ArcGIS 10. Adding the data directly
did not produce a good result because the
imagery did not line up with any of the refer-
ence vectors or other base maps available in
the GIS system. Before allocating internal
resources to analyze the imagery, the NGU
had to ensure that the newly collected imagery
would be properly aligned with other base
map information; otherwise, spending any
time deriving information from the new ASTER
images would not have been worthwhile.
The NGU considered using an existing image
processing package to perform corrections to
the data, but hesitated doing so because learn-
ing how to use a new and different soft-
ware/GUI environment represented a signi-
cant time/cost commitment. This led to a great
deal of frustration: the NGU understood and
wanted to exploit the benets of satellite remote
sensing imagery, but the lack of integrated
tools to bring the data into their GIS environ-
ment halted all progress.
NGU learns of PCIs GeoImaging
Tools for ArcGIS
Just as the NGU was getting ready to aban-
don the idea of using the ASTER imagery,
Nils Erik Jrgensen from Terranor (PCI
reseller based in Norway) contacted the
NGU to discuss new technology introduced
in the marketplace by PCI Geomatics. The
NGU took notice, and discussed their par-
ticular case with Terranor. The NGU knew
about PCIs strong reputation for providing
rigorous and automated multi-satellite sen-
sor support, and was delighted to hear that
PCI had developed an extension to ArcGIS
10 this meant there was the potential to
implement a more streamlined workow. In
addition, learning how to use an external
software package to correct the imagery
would no longer be required, as
GeoImaging Tools is integrated directly into
ArcGIS.
Raster Data meets its Match
Prior to integrating GeoImaging Tools into
their environment, the NGU evaluated the
software to test its functionality, in order to
determine if it could indeed use the tools to
solve the operational challenges it faced
with its ASTER data.
Downloading the software was straightfor-
ward, simply by going to PCIs website
18
January/February 2011
By Kevin R. Jones
Ar t i c l e
Satellite Sensor Band #s Spectral Range Scene Size Pixel Res
VNIR 1-3 0.52 - 0.86 m 15 meter
ASTER SWIR 4-9 1.600 - 2.430 m 120 X 150 km 30 meter
TIR 10-14 8.125 - 11.65 m 90 meter
Spectral and spatial band information for ASTER the sensor used by the NGU for Bedrock Mapping
Aster, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal
Emission and Reection Radiometer, is an
imaging instrument ying on Terra, a
satellite launched in December 1999 as
part of NASA's Earth Observing System
(EOS). ASTER is a cooperative effort
between NASA, Japan's Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and
Japan's Earth Remote Sensing Data
Analysis Center (ERSDAC) ASTER is
being used to obtain detailed maps of
land surface temperature, reectance and
elevation.
GeoImaging Tools for ArcGIS GUI integrated in ArcGIS
where a fully functional trial version is avail-
able. Within a few minutes, the software
was downloaded and installed at the NGUs
ofce, and integrated directly into ArcGIS.
The download included a number of
resources which the NGU made immediate
use of, including a step-by-step tutorial using
a demonstration dataset (which is also avail-
able for download on PCIs website) and an
instructional video accessible over the web.
The NGU then got to work in evaluating
GeoImaging Tools with its frustrating ASTER
data, which up until now was of no use at
all. The initial process that the NGU evalu-
ated was correcting the imagery using the
nominal model, one of the options available
with GeoImaging Tools. GeoImaging Tools
is based on PCIs sophisticated Rational
Polynomial Function (RPC) sensor model
technology, which uses ephemeris informa-
tion collected by satellites when images are
captured, along with a Digital Elevation
Model (DEM) to perform very accurate cor-
rections. The NGU followed the instructions
from the user guide and within minutes pro-
duced a very good result, one that nally
aligned with reference vectors and other
base information.
Going one step further, in the demonstration
tutorial for GeoImaging Tools, the NGU
noticed that a series of SPOT images were
corrected using a reference Landsat dataset
over British Columbia, Canada. Global cov-
erage is available from Landsat through the
USGS; therefore, the NGU downloaded the
overlapping tiles over the ASTER scene to
use as a reference dataset from which to col-
lect ground control points. The same process
was executed using GeoImaging Tools, this
time with the initial model rened using the
reference Landsat dataset. GeoImaging
tools includes automatic image-to-image
Ar t i c l e
19
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
ASTER imagery successfully loaded in ArcGIS10 using GeoImaging Tools for ArcGIS
Dr. Ola Fredin updates preliminary ASTER derived bedrock
maps in the field using a ruggedized laptop and ArcGIS
matching technology, which collects refer-
ence points that are then used to build a
highly accurate model to correct the data.
The end result was even better than the nom-
inal correction, and nally, the NGU was
able to begin the work of leveraging the
valuable information contained in the ASTER
imagery as geologist of NGU, Dr. Ola
Fredin put it, all this took very little time and
we could concentrate on Geology.
Space-based derived Information
used in the Field
The NGU makes full use of Geographic
Information Systems, and the Bedrock
Mapping project is no exception. Having
used GeoImaging tools to correct the
imagery directly within ArcGIS, the NGU
began the process of creating preliminary
maps, outlining the boundaries and struc-
tures using ArcGIS feature editing function-
ality. These data, along with reference base
maps and vector information are then load-
ed onto eld-ready ruggedized laptops
equipped with built-in GPS capability. From
the eld, NGU scientists can thus load the
preliminary information derived from the
ASTER imagery and prioritize eld checks
where ambiguous zones have been identi-
ed. The preliminary information is veried
and updated, then synchronized back in the
central database when scientists return from
the eld. This integrated approach repre-
sents a considerable amount of savings in
terms of time and money, since the NGU
can achieve their mandate more efciently.
Satellite Imagery Integration into
NGUs GIS workow
The benets of using satellite remote sens-
ing data are well understood by the scien-
tic community; however some barriers
clearly prevent many potential users from
leveraging this type of data. Some of these
past barriers have included:
cost of the data
ease of access (where to go to down-
load, how to obtain data, information on
data formats and sensors)
ability to read imagery into a GIS system
in a simple manner where further analy-
sis can be carried out
availability of reference elevation mod-
els and base mapping data.
Most of these barriers no longer exist we
live in an era of data abundance, especial-
ly as it relates to geospatial information.
Data policies have been relaxed by innova-
tors such as United States Geological Survey
(USGS) and DLR (German Aerospace
Center), collecting, processing and distribut-
ing worldwide optical remote sensing
imagery and Digital Elevation Models freely
through the Internet. The number of earth
observation missions is steadily increasing,
therefore creating competition and driving
prices downwards. Web-based data order-
ing systems are the norm, where access to
newly collected imagery can happen in near
real time.
Despite these advances, integrating satellite
imagery directly into the GIS continues to
represent a signicant barrier. Through the
partnership between PCI Geomatics and
Esri, products such as GeoImaging Tools for
ArcGIS are helping to remove this barrier
and leverage the very valuable information
that can be derived from satellite imagery.
Kevin R. Jones, Director, Marketing and Product
Management PCI Geomatics
Internet: http://www.pcigeomatics.com/gitools
Terranor: www.terranor.no PCI reseller based in Norway
For more information about bedrock mapping, see
http://www.ngu.no/no/hm/Norges-geologi/Berggrunn
Ar t i c l e
20
January/February 2011
Preliminary bedrock maps derived from ASTER imagery and field level verification, produced by NGU
GI Tools 2.0 for Esri ArcGIS 10
PCIs GeoImaging Tools provides ArcGIS users with a suite of tools for processing and
analyzing imagery in the GIS. PCI Geomatics is introducing a suite of modules that
integrate directly into ArcGIS for achieving common image related tasks.
The release of GeoImaging Tools version 2.0 coincides and integrates directly within Esris
recently released ArcGIS version 10 software. With the GeoImaging Tools Image
Correction Module, ArcGIS users will benet from rigorous, automated multi-sensor
support and be able to correct raw imagery using sensor model information, optionally
with automatic GCPs and tie points from reference data such as reference mosaics, or
vectors. Higher levels of registration accuracy are achievable via block bundle adjust-
ments. Users also have the option of saving the correction parameters and creating mosa-
ic datasets for direct use with ArcGIS for on-the-y processing, reducing data duplication.
GeoImaging Tools for ArcGIS version 2.0 is PCIs second GeoImaging Tools product
release, and features direct integration within the ArcGIS 10 Arc Toolbox. Upcoming
product releases include the Radar Module, which will provide the best tools for Synthetic
Aperture Radar (SAR) data processing and analysis, including a comprehensive
Polarimetric toolkit and support for all commercially available SAR sensors.
I believe in precision.
Leica Geosystems AG
Switzerland
www.leica-geosystems.com
The new Leica ScanStation C10: this high-definition
3D laser scanner for civil engineering and plant
surveying is a fine example of our uncompromising
dedication to your needs. Precision: yet another
reason to trust Leica Geosystems.
Precision is more than an asset when your
reputation is at stake, its an absolute necessity.
Zero tolerance is the best mindset when others need to rely on
your data. Thats why precision comes first at Leica Geosystems.
Our comprehensive spectrum of solutions covers all your measure-
ment needs for surveying, engineering and geospatial applications.
And they are all backed with world-class service and support
that delivers answers to your questions. When it matters most.
When you are in the field. When it has to be right.
You can count on Leica Geosystems to provide a highly precise
solution for every facet of your job.
GPS-Compass-Camera Serves Documentation Needs
Location-based Imaging Solution
Alta4 Geoinformatik AG was founded in 1998. It has grown since
then and now has 20 employees. As an international Esri business
partner, alta4 serves as a software reseller for Esri products in
Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Beyond custom off-the-
shelf products, alta4 offers consulting services for individual
requirements, customized solutions and professional GIS training.
F
or more than 12 years, alta4 has represented a strong brand in
the European GIS market, standing for highly innovative web-based
GIS solutions. With a network of 17 partners throughout Europe,
the company has made it their promise to create benets for their val-
ued customers through innovation and the use of GIS technology.
With the GPS-Compass-Camera G700SE from RICOH, the company
has been able to add value to its customers photo documentation work-
ows. The latest release of the GPS-Compass-Camera, with many hard-
ware- and software-related enhancements, has further improved usabili-
ty and now enables users to integrate photo information into their existing
GIS environment in order to ensure gap-free and complete documenta-
tion of any project or situation.
Just in time for the Esri EMEA 2010 User Conference in Rome, the Photo
Asset Management Solution was updated with the latest products of the
photo and GIS software industries. The G700SE marks another mile-
stone in technologies that facilitate better workow. With a broad vari-
ety of features like GPS and compass information, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
communications, and the ability to dene text attributes for every sce-
nario, plus being water, dust and chemical resistant, this new model is a
true all-rounder in the eld for improving imaging workows.
The GPS and compass functionality adds substantial information to the
photos EXIF data, which offers a lot of advantages in terms of location-
related image clustering. Even the direction in which the image was
taken can be displayed on a digital map. In conjunction with the map-
ping tools used, from Google Maps to ArcGIS Server, alta4 provides a
range of powerful software solutions for any business environment that
enhance workows with the minimum amount of effort.
In addition to the ability to connect to external devices like a laser
rangender, the GPS-Compass-Camera G700SE has shown itself to be
an expert when it comes to security. Evidence is safe against tampering
with the help of SD-WORM card (Write Once, Read Many) compatibili-
ty. Password protection for selected menu options allows system admin-
istrators the decision to grant or deny access for camera operators.
In Doha, the capital of Qatar, a construction project of enormous size is
being built under the supervision of leading German construction ser-
22
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Oliver Eitel
vice provider Hochtief AG. With the help of the G700SE, the require-
ment for thorough documentation of the building process can be met.
Every day work progress is captured with the device that will provide all
the necessary information when implemented in GI systems. GPS loca-
tions, combined with directional information and text attributes from the
compass, make it possible to supervise every action taken during the
construction process. With data generated every day, the database auto-
matically stays structured by using the information stored in the EXIF
header of every image. With the help of Google Earth, important infor-
mation can be presented to interested groups, both internal and exter-
nal, within a very short time. In order to make workow as smooth as
possible, a connection between the camera and the software used to
visualize the generated data is needed. This is where, over the last 12
years, the company's developers have created software solutions,
giving all kinds of customers access to imaging workow improvements.
Desktop Solution
Further processing of the created images has shown itself to be the bot-
tleneck in every imaging workow. With ExifExtractor NG, captured
images can be integrated with any kind of GIS system, databases and
mapping applications like Google Earth. Additionally, PDF reports
based on EXIF information can be created with ease to serve the infor-
mation needs of interested internal and external entities.
This cost-efcient module subscripts all photos containing GPS informa-
tion in the EXIF header. GPS information is extracted from the EXIF head-
er of each photo inside a given folder.
With the help of Google Earth, GPS photos can be visualized at the
recording location without the need for a GI system or the correspond-
ing maps.
Available output formats that can be generated by ExifExtractor NG
include ESRI Shape File, Google KML and KMZ le, XML, PDF and
ASCII CSV le.
Photo Management Within GI Systems
With GPS PhotoMapper it is easy to search and import available photo
databases to GIS layers with just a few mouse clicks. Existing photo
databases can be searched automatically and integrated into a per-
sonal GI system.
The software offers a broad range of additional functions to increase
the efciency of any imaging workow within ArcGIS. It doesnt matter
whether or not GPS information is already available in the photos EXIF
header. The drag and drop functionality means photos can be dragged
to their map location of origin to add necessary GPS coordinates to
the photos EXIF information. The capture location of the photo will be
converted automatically to a point feature layer. When moving over
displayed points on the map, the relevant photos pop up, with their
EXIF information included.
PhotoMapper Server is an enterprise-wide solution for managing large
numbers of digital photos. While storing all your images on a central
drive, it is possible to search them efciently from any workstation elim-
inating the need to ask where photos were taken or where they are
stored within your company network. The intuitive browser interface
and the connection to ArcGIS Server are pioneering developments.
By providing a central photo database, PhotoMapper Server organizes
all available image data. All current photos are imported automatical-
ly, while any user can easily add new pictures to the database. Different
user proles make it possible to manage photos between departments
and sections within a company or organization.
The graphical user interface uses the embedded GPS coordinates for
localization in the interactive map. Thanks to the ability to tag and
search the EXIF headers of your image les, it is very simple to nd all
photos with the exact location on the map.
Large enterprises with particularly widespread organizational structures
will benet from the ability to use their complete data pool of digital
photos independently of the persons who took the pictures.
Common Ground
The GPS-Compass-Camera provides the basis and allows the cap-
ture of all necessary data.
This enables the structuring of imaging databases with the help of
suitable software solutions, thus serving the different user groups
with their different needs, the one thing they have in common.
Internet: www.alta4.com
Ar t i c l e
23
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Automated photo documentation
Case example
ArcGIS Server-based photo management
STI's Two Recent Projects
24
Ar t i c l e
Socit Topographie Informatique (STI) based in Evry, near Paris, France specializes in topogra-
phy, photogrammetry, and aerial photography. After purchasing the UltraCamL, STI won a contract to
fly Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris. Its success with the two challenging airport projects
helped the company establish a reputation in the industry that is leading to more business and has
positioned it as a key player in the aerial survey market.
By Matteo G. Luccio
January/February 2011
S
ocit Topographie Informa -
tique (STI) - based in Evry, near
Paris, France - specializes in
topography, photogrammetry,
and aerial photography. For the
rst several years, the compa-
ny, established in 1994, did not own a cam-
era, but worked with aerial survey compa-
nies that made the ights and then provided
the image data to STI to process. STI focused
on the software aspects of making maps,
orthophotos, digital terrain models (DTM),
and digital surface models (DSM).
Over time, however, the companys founder,
owner, and technical director, Gheorghe
Munceanu - an engineer, surveyor, and pho-
togrammetry specialist who is originally
from Romania - saw that there were many
aerial survey business opportunities. In
2010, in order to expand the services STI
could provide to its customers, he decided
to buy a digital camera and the hardware
and software required to process the data
collected and to produce photogrammetric
images. Recently, STI created a digital aeri-
al photography division.
Having spent years studying different cam-
eras and image acquisition methods,
Munceanu did extensive research compar-
ing UltraCam cameras, made by Microsofts
Vexcel Imaging, to other digital aerial cam-
eras. He concluded that the UltraCam was
the one that best met his companys needs.
After contacting Latitude Geosystems, a
Microsoft sales partner, in January 2010 he
purchased an UltraCamL, with the option to
upgrade to the UltraCamLp as soon as it
was released. The latter, Munceanu says,
would be the best camera for corridor map-
ping, which he thought would become a
much larger share of his work.
After purchasing the UltraCamL, however,
STI won a contract to y Charles de Gaulle
and Orly airports in Paris. No other aerial
survey company wanted to take on the con-
tract, believing that it could not be complet-
ed successfully, because only two months
were allotted for gathering image data and
because it required stopping periodically to
allow other aircraft to land and take off. In
addition, it was not clear when the aerial
survey company would receive security
clearance to y.
To meet the unique challenges presented by
the Charles de Gaulle and Orly projects, STI
made an agreement with Microsoft to rent
an UltraCamXp, because this cameras larg-
er image footprint would considerably short-
en the ying time required. For that type of
project the Xp is better because it provides
greater overlap. We use the Xp for image
collection when we can y an area only
once or twice, says Munceanu.
After successfully completing the two pro-
jects, STI, which was already seeing the
value that it was getting in pixels per print
with the UltraCamL, decided to upgrade to
the UltraCamXp. Its success with the two
challenging airport projects helped the com-
pany establish a reputation in the industry
that is leading to more business and has
positioned it as a key player in the aerial
survey market.
STI
Currently STI has about 30 employees.
Besides its main ofce, which specializes in
topography, photogrammetry, and aerial
photography, it also has an ofce in Toulon,
mostly focused on topography, and one on
Mayotte, a French island off the coast of
Madagascar, which offers its topographic
services to Africa.
Our main activity is on-site, Munceanu
says. Our employees are on the move all
the time. We bid for projects. We try to be
competitive in regards to our equipment, our
personnel, and the quality of our work.
Some of our larger clients are airports and
railways. We have worked abroad, for
example in Niger.
In the past, I was not able to offer aerial
photography service, because it was too
expensive, Munceanu continues. In the
past two years, however, it has begun to be
extremely important and competition has
greatly increased. To provide quality ser-
vices requires a deep understanding of pho-
togrammetry. You have to prepare the mis-
sion, take excellent shots with the right
equipment, and then process the images.
The technical demands keep increasing. The
airports demanded a very high quality and
quick turnaround time. For that reason, I
made the choice to equip myself with this
service.
Analog vs. Digital
When he worked with lm, Munceanu
recalls, he had to scan it and process it,
which required a laboratory, took a long
time, and degraded the quality of the
images. For missions abroad or to places
where he wanted to capture a large number
of images, it was hard to always have
enough lm on hand. I don't think that any-
one today would go back to using lm cam-
eras, he says. They are going to be obso-
lete soon.
Victor Andriampanana, the senior engineer
at STI, spends his typical day producing
topographic maps, which makes him a con-
sumer of aerial imagery. He, too, used to
complain about information loss and pro-
cessing times with lm. The UltraCam does
not lose information, says Engelbert Breg,
a sales solution specialist for Microsoft,
because it has eight sensors - four for cap-
turing the panchromatic image and four for
RGB and near infrared. This allows you to
choose your product during post-processing:
for example, do you need a panchromatic
image for use in high-accuracy mapping, a
near-infrared image for use in agriculture,
or an RGB image for producing auto-
focused images?
Another reason the UltraCam does not lose
any information, Breg points out, is the tight
Ar t i c l e
25
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
The UltraCam family of photogrammetric digital aerial cameras.
integration of the optics, the electronics, and
the software. This is what allows users to
collect the images at very high radiometry,
he says. Our analog-to-digital conversion is
at an even higher radiometry than the image
capture and we work in 16-bit software.
Additionally, Breg points out that digitizing
lm to insert it into a digital workow limits
the radiometry to 256 gray values, because
beyond that the lms grain becomes visible.
Digital cameras, on the other hand, give you
more than 7,000 gray scale values. That
makes it possible to see black cars even in
the shade, he says. This is what the cus-
tomers want to see.
Digital cameras can also operate in condi-
tions that are prohibitive for analog ones.
For example, in the aftermath of the
Indonesian tsunami, haze and relief air traf-
c made it nearly impossible to y the coast-
line with analog cameras to assess the dam-
age. However, using an UltraCam, Breg
says, it was possible to y the whole coast-
line in just 19 days.
UltraCam
In particular, STIs work with airports requires
collecting extremely precise images in less
than ideal conditions. They do not allow
you to stop air trafc to work as you may
wish, Munceanu says. Therefore, he need-
ed a camera that would be simple to use, so
that he could quickly adapt to the workow.
One advantage of the UltraCam is that it
provides a complete digital photogrammet-
ric work ow, he adds. We have fewer
images, fewer crown points, and less aerial
triangulation work to do. So, I can produce
results pretty much on site. I can land with
the photos, empty the magazines, and pro-
cess them in one or two days. It also requires
less work to produce orthophotography and
to create mosaic lines and the end product
is of higher quality. We do digital surface
models differently now because UltraCam
images are better for correlation.
The UltraCams 19,096 megapixels give us
a very large footprint, Munceanu continues.
Thats important because it reduces the num-
ber of images - and, therefore, the ight time
and the photogrammetric work - while pro-
viding the same or better clarity. We can use
the entire surface of the images, the contrasts
are good, and the colors are crisp. The
UltraCam was an acquisition that I wished
for many years and today I have the satis-
faction of having a complete production line
for my clients. If we need support from anoth-
er company, we prefer to work with one that
uses an UltraCam, because they use the
same software and the same image format
that we do.
The UltraCams optics were jointly produced
by the photogrammetrists at Vexcel, who
know the needs of aerial survey companies,
and the lens experts at Linos Rodenstock,
who built the lens and created the shutter,
which can be changed in the eld without
re-calibrating the camera, says Breg. The
lens is specically built for the cameras elec-
tronic parts and leaves absolutely no
unsharpened areas even in the corner of the
image. So, what you have is a perfect com-
bination of optics and electronics.
Nevertheless, he argues, the most powerful
part of the camera is the software, which
controls its geometry and the workow.
One nal advantage of purchasing an
UltraCam camera, Munceanu points out, is
that it made it easier for STI to collaborate
on large projects with a partner aerial sur-
vey company that already owns four
UltraCam cameras.
The Business Case
Paying for an UltraCam is very easy, says
Andriampanana, because of the increases
in efciency, which allow a business to han-
dle more work. For example, during the air-
port project, STI was able to take more than
1,700 images in only one hour, he says.
We can take up to 6,600 images in a ight,
so we can y longer, says Munceanu. We
can go abroad, take the images, and then
y back to France and download them.
Another reason digital cameras are cheaper
to operate, Breg points out, is that the cost
of a ight does not depend on how many
images you capture, as it does with analog
cameras, for which each exposure costs you
for the lm, the laboratory processing, and
the scanning. If you capture 30,000 images
per year, just saving on these costs pays for
a digital camera, he says.
We lease the airplane, Munceanu says.
With UltraCam we can y at higher speed
and reduce the number of images, so we can
reduce the ight time.
The Airport Projects
STI has been offering topographic services
to airports since 1994. For the rst decade,
to meet the airports accuracy requirements,
the company did only ground-based survey-
ing to create topographic maps. Around
2005, it began to use photogrammetry.
However, Munceanu recalls, the airports ini-
tially resisted this approach, due to their
access limitations and need for very short
turnaround times. Finally, one airport accept-
ed a test run on its large runway. We did
the test on lm, as it was the only possibility
at the time, he says. I had a company that
I trusted and it worked out. After that, the
airports accepted photogrammetry.
The two Paris airports have very specic
conditions for aerial photography and
require very high quality images, close to
that of ground photography, says
Munceanu. To meet these requirements, STI
needed the right equipment and processing
method in place. An additional challenge
was that it could not control certain key vari-
ables, such as the meteorological and air
trafc conditions. We are given only a very
short time slot in which to y, says
Andriampanana. This makes the
UltraCams large footprint, large image
overlap, and ability to operate easily
regardless of the weather particularly use-
ful. Charles de Gaulle wanted the nal
results in just two months. Using lm, this
project would have taken us about a year.
Future
In the future, says Andriampanana, the
UltraCam can help STI acquire imagery for
developing countries that have a very big
needs of basic maps, for example for disas-
ter management. Large format images are
very good for that, because they cut the exe-
cution time.
Next year we will y in Africa, says
Munceanu. It used to be difcult to nd
companies that would want to go there.
Before, when we went to Africa we had to
use local cameras or old cameras. Now that
we have a good camera, we can go to do
that work and do it really well.
Matteo G. Luccio, M.S.,
matteo@palebluedotllc.com,
President, Pale Blue Dot, LLC
Ar t i c l e
26
January/February 2011
20 MicrosoL CorporaLion. All righLs reserved. MicrosoL, UlLraCam, UlLraCamXp, UlLraMap, and vexcel lmaging CmbH are eiLher regisLered Lrademarks or Lrademarks o MicrosoL CorporaLion in Lhe UniLed SLaLes and/or oLher counLries.
1o excel in Lhe compeLiLive aerial surveying markeL, Monsieur Cheorghe Munceanu
knows LhaL his organizaLion, SociL 1opographie lnormaLique (S1l), needs Lhe righL
Lechnology Lo y projecLs over France and Arica quickly, accuraLely, and cosL-eecLively.
lL's why he preers Lhe high-perormance UlLraCamXp or digiLal-image acquisiLion.

UlLraCam sensor sysLems eaLure a rapid rame raLe and exLraordinary image ooLprinL.
1he vasL amounL o pixels across each rame means ewer necessary ighL lines -noL Lo
menLion Lhe 8-D daLa capabiliLies. All Lhis enables S1l Lo produce high-qualiLy images
while reducing cosLs.
And every UlLraCam sysLem includes Lhe powerul UlLraMap phoLogrammeLric workow
UlLraCamXp soLware LhaL now eaLures highly auLomaLed, projecL-based color balancing. UltraCamXp
Monsieur Gheorghe Munceanu,
Socit Topographie Informatique
Downl oad the free tag reader app at http: //gettag. mobi
Visit iFlyUltraCam.com
to see the STI video. Or
scan barcode and watch
on your mobile phone.
C
O
L
U
M
N
Changes in the world of mobile telecoms and IT mean that the telematics
industry is changing direction with huge consequences for the business and
the GIS industry alike.
T
he last 5-8 years in the Telematics industry have
been largely shaped by whats technically do-
able. We have consistently pushed the bound-
aries of technology covering location accuracy and
we have demonstrated that we have just about had
the ability to deliver products that work.
The advent of the i-phone changed everything. This
device has changed customer expectations and the
business models needed to support their needs.
More specically this means that the management
of location and context based data will also change.
Smartphones are becoming more prevalent. By the
end of 2011, there will be more than 1 billion PCs
and 5 billion mobile phones in use in the world.
Google estimates that by 2014 45% of all internet
searches will be executed from mobile devices, rep-
resenting a three-fold increase in this method of
download over the 3 year period. The inescapable
conclusion is that the volume of data which will be
processed by mobile devices and telematics appli-
cations will rise massively over the next 3 years.
Mix and Match Data Management
Models
Alongside these developments Esri UK has seen
changes in the way in which data is managed.
Increasingly companies may own data sets which are
used frequently but supplement this with Cloud based
Pay per click data for specic exercises. The result is
mix and match data management models. This trend
has driven the need for more consistency in data stor-
age standards, enabling increasing numbers of users
to access common data sets whilst maintaining pro-
cessing speeds and delivering value-add from
enhanced analysis.
More specically, more data means more context spe-
cic information, more examples of similar situations
and more rule based analysis, which enables the devel-
opment of new sources of distinctive competitive advan-
tage and some extremely innovative business models.
Ken McGee, a Gartner Vice President, predicts, By
2016, one-third of worldwide mobile consumer mar-
keting will be context-awareness-based. The numbers
are expected to be enormous. More than $150 billion
of global telecom spending will shift from services to
applications by 2012 by which time the global market
for context-aware services is expected to be valued at
$215 billion. Unlocking this potential will be one of
the next major challenges for IT.
We expect to see context sensitive developments in
fraud detection, remote worker tracking and delivery
planning and scheduling, to name but three. It doesnt
take a lot of imagination to appreciate how much data
is involved in assembling such real-time applications.
Managing Huge Volumes of Location
Enabled Data
In the GIS industry we are already seeing the appear-
ance of data requirements specied in Petabytes (thats
one thousand Terabytes of information). These data
volumes are already commonplace in other industries.
In the telecoms eld AT & T transfers about 19
Petabytes of data through their network daily. Its not
going to be too long before you start hearing about
Exabytes and even Zettabytes.
Industries as diverse as lm making, nuclear physics
and weather forecasting have already confronted
many of these data management problems. The main
ndings are that clear meta data makes it easy to anal-
yse information without having to process all the data
all the time. Value is extracted by using data keys to
speed up problem specic spatial and non-spatial
data extraction. This means that, increasingly, com-
mon data structures are needed to benet from low
cost computing power and to improve access to exter-
nal data.
The combination of spatial and non-spatial context
based data underpins what is emerging as a new dis-
cipline, namely Pattern Based Strategy, which has the
potential to be a huge source of competitive advan-
tage once rule-based exception management tools
have been tuned using spatial and time-based statisti-
cal techniques. The aim is to link Business Intelligence,
Business Analytics and exception management to
improve analysis, to reduce risk and increasingly, in
the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, to pro-
tect shareholder value.
Some commentators believe that the analysis of huge
volumes of location enabled data has the potential to
drive value-add for business for the next 30-50 years.
One thing we can say with certainty is that we are at
a very exciting stage in the development of both the
Location and Telematics industries.
By Graham Wallace
Graham Wallace is
Senior Business Strategist
for Esri UK
Al l Change
C o l u mn
28
January/February 2011
Suzhou FOIF Co.,Ltd.
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Built-in Temperature and Pressure Sensors
Large Full Colour Graphic Display
Guide Light System
Multiple Interface Options
Dual-Speed Drives
Touch Screen
Windows CE 5.0 Operating System
300m Reflectorless Range(OTS)
Same user interfae for TS810 & GNSS A20
All the staking tools you will ever need
Rich programs: azimuth/distance, area
offsetting, intersection, poly-line, curve
Data import/export:DXF, SHP Rw5, LandXML
Import and stake directly from a DXF file
Volume calculations
Map 3D view with colored lines
Powerful road module(3D)
Since its inception, OpenStreetMap has come a long
way. What started as a project for mapping streets,
is now a geographic database for every geo-
graphic feature there is, with thousands of users
worldwide. Jonathan Bennetts book Open -
StreetMap tells you what the project is all about,
how you can contribute to the project and how to
deal with the data and maps.
O
penStreetMap started out as a pro-
ject for mapping streets in August
2004. Programmer Steve Coast
(more on him below) started drawing his
own map based on his own GPS data,
incorporated in open source software. A
group of people joined his efforts and OSM
was born. In March 2006, the rst desktop
editing application for OSM was released
(JOSM, written in Java allowed ofine map-
ping for the rst time). More software releas-
es followed, all of which are described in
this book. In ve years, the project evolved
from being small and local, to a global
resource with thousands of users and the
start of an industry based around the data
collected. As an example of this, Esri makes
use of OSM data in its world basemap pro-
ject. OSM is regarded as a good example
of crowdsourcing, where data is captured
and shared by its users over the web.
Verdict
As an introduction to the OSM project, this
book does a very good job. The hands-on
approach gives you a very good insight in
what the project is about and how one can
contribute to it. Its clear that much of the infor-
mation presented is only the tip of the iceberg,
and further reading elsewhere is encouraged.
This is not meant as a criticism, but to show
that its quite impossible to fully cover every
detail of this project.
One other aspect of the book I appreciated is
the fact that interoperability is a key topic, an
important feature of open source projects such
as OSM. Since OSM is a form of web GIS,
we also get to read about the OSM Rest API
and Extended API. For web designers and
developers this is valuable information.
Because I now
have some in sight
into how the pro-
ject works, its
possible to com-
pare it with gen-
eral vendor GIS. This is done for a more gen-
eral discussion about the OSM project itself.
OSM in General
Only once is the topic of vandalism in the
project mentioned. Since it is possible to
contribute and edit data to the project, there
is the very real possibility of vandalism. Id
be interested to read more about this since
it is one of the reasons why authoritative
data is preferred to OSM data by certain
institutions. The same goes for a discussion
on accuracy of the data: the subject is
touched upon early in the book but deserves
more attention.
Another topic that is reected in the struc-
ture of the book is the fact that map render-
ers and map editors work separately from
each others. Also, they are described in sep-
arate chapters in the book to make this fact
more obvious. What follows is that map edit-
ing is not the same as editing in the
database of the project. Or maybe it is in
some cases but this is not described very
clearly in the book. This is a pity, but it touch-
es on the anarchical structure of the project.
Since this is a project of contributors, there
are many different applications available
(written by these same contributors) to edit
and map the data, but how these are all
combined into one data set is not very
apparent to me. The same goes for multi-
editing. Again, I think it is important to sep-
arate editing a map from editing the
database that lies beneath it. In this
book, one reads about map editing when
only an image is being edited. To me, these
things are not the same.
There is also some contradiction in the pref-
ace of the book: on the one hand it claims
that the book is for programmers and the
like, but technical details are limited. On the
other hand, this last statement is not true: in
chapters eight, nine and ten there is a lot of
technical information (All very handy) in the
form of commands to show, for instance, dif-
ferent types of features on a map. It shows
that there are denitely parts of the project
that are for experts only. It takes quite a lot
of effort to manipulate data through
Osmosis.
Another topic that is only mentioned briey
is semantics, or how to dene features. A
highway means something quite different
from one country to another. How does the
project cope with this? To me this is not very
clear. Also, since all types of geographical
features are mapped through OSM, users
can suggest their own types of features.
These are reviewed by others and agreed
upon (or not). Again, to me its not clear how
semantic challenges in this eld are dealt
with.
Internet: www.packtpub.com/openstreetmap/book
30
January/February 2011
By Eric van Rees
Title: OpenStreetMap
Author: Jonathan Bennett
Amount of pages: 235
Publisher: Packt Publishing
ISBN: 1847197507
Language: English
A Free Editable Map of the World
OpenStreetMap
B o o k r e v i e w
A Chinese GIS Platform for Desktop, Web and Mobile
SuperMap
SuperMap is a Chinese GIS company that has its sights
set on Europe. During last years INTERGEO event in
Cologne, a distribution contract was signed, guaran-
teeing distribution of SuperMap products within the
Benelux and eventual sales in corresponding countries.
This is an introduction to the company and its product
line and an application-based SuperMap technology.
S
uperMap is the second largest GIS company in China, right after
Esri. In its Beijing ofce, the company comprises 900 employees,
which gives you an idea of its size. It originates from Chinese
Academy Of Sciences and was public listed in Shenzhen Stock
Exchange of China (300036.SZ).
During the INTERGEO event in Cologne, SuperMap not only signed a
distribution deal for the Benelux with the Dutch-based company
GISoftware, but it was also present at the trade fair where product
demonstrations were given,
such as the latest versions
of SuperMap GIS 6R prod-
ucts (see image right),
including two new prod-
ucts, SuperMap iClient and
Desktop .NET. After the
event, a delegation from
SuperMap visited two
European universities,
where the company intro-
duced itself in a lecture
about the Chinese GIS
industry and discussed the
possibility of future collabo-
ration.
Product Line
SuperMaps GIS Software
is an open and cross plat-
form. SuperMaps product line consists of desktop GIS (with 3D func-
tionality), component GIS, server GIS and mobile GIS. Not only are
out-of-the-box solutions available, but there are customized solutions
as well.
For developers, SuperMap offers a development platform with gener-
al GIS modules. This can be an option for customers who are inter-
ested in a geospatial component for existing applications. Since
SuperMap runs on Windows, UNIX and Linux, everything can be built.
The desktop, mobile and
server components make
use of the same basic func-
tionality, called the Uni -
versal GIS Core. This goes
for all applications, and the
motor teams with all
databases.
There is a built-in database
engine as well, the SDX+.
This may sound strange
since nowadays a number
of de facto standards domi-
nate the market. Herwin
Franken, Business Develop -
ment Manager at GISoft -
ware explains: Although
we are focussed on commu-
nicating with others, the
SuperMap database en -
32
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Eric van Rees and Remco Takken
Quarry where fleet management solution is applied, built on SuperMap technology
SuperMap GIS 6R Products
gine has been developed for handling, and intelligent indexing, of very
data-intensive applications.
Remarkable is SuperMap iClient, a form of service GIS where all data
is unlocked using, for instance, Silverlight, which gives intelligence to
the pages. With SuperMap delivering the components, users only
need to connect the viewer to the database in the right way. SuperMap
iClient is a cross-browser, cross-platform, client development platform to
enable developers to generate rich client GIS applications. It
supports Adobe Flex, Silverlight, Ajax and Realspace. Not only is it
used to display Web maps, but its also used for rich client applications
of map data where SuperMap GIS servers or third party servers build
a powerful, interactive map application providing excellent user experi-
ence.
Extended Functions
The new generation of Deskpro .NET, which is based on SuperMap
Objects .NET, provides an easy way for customers to extend func-
tionality based on SuperMap Desktop GIS products. The new gener-
ation of SuperMap Desktop GIS products includes two parts:
Desktop Development Platform
This platform contains functions such as desktop object model, plug-
in model, scripts, command line, etc. As a desktop development plat-
form, this framework only denes some basic principles and basic
programming ports, without providing explicit functions.
Desktop Products
With this development platform, an integrity desktop product is
obtained by encapsulating GIS functions offered by components
according to the particular application. This desktop product has all
the features of a developing platform, including customizable, pro-
grammable, and scalable options, etc. Moreover, the products devel-
oped on the basis of Deskpro products could be aggregated or
grouped together, which is valuable to some projects. Consequently,
to date, SuperMap Software has an overall group of development
platforms, including a desktop application developing platform
(Deskpro .NET), an embedded application developing platform
(Objects COM, Objects .NET, Objects Java), and server developing
platform (IS .NET, iServer Java).
The Future
Looking at the future, the company is condent about its prospects
for growth: Because of the Chinese parent company, we have suf-
cient development potential, said Franken. Not only do they have
enormous resources, but they are also very motivated to increase
support in Europe. They deal with the adaptation of local legisla-
tion, conventions and regulations concerning INSPIRE and we notice
this, being a distributor. Software, documentation and support are
being taken care of very well.
Fleet Management Solution
Together with Dutch distributor GISoftware, SuperMaps Swedish dis-
tributor was also present at INTERGEO. GeoInt Systems spoke about a
eet management GIS solution for Skanska, an international project
development and construction company. It is built on SuperMap tech-
nology: the solution combines desktop, server and mobile GIS technol-
ogy. The system uses data from a number of sources, including GPS
receivers in the vehicles, the production control system, ERP system
(enterprise resource planning, used for maximizing productivity) and
the Fleet Management ofce and vehicle software.
Each vehicle is equipped with GPS and a touch screen computer. The
computer displays a map showing the area containing all objects, piles,
middle storages, silos, etc, and all vehicles in real time.
The same information is displayed on the ofce computer. The works
superintendent has an overview of the stock situation on the map, and
in tables and diagrams.
The system is based on work orders for vehicles. When a vehicle
accepts a work order, the map graphically displays where the vehicle
should go to load the material and where to go to unload it. The driver
can display detailed information about the work order and also create
instant work orders for temporary tasks.
The system can identify customer trucks using cameras and pattern
recognition functions. This enables the automatic generation of work
orders from the ERP system sales order, and to direct the truck to the
designated loading place.
The system is continuously collecting information about vehicle move-
ments, transport loads, fuel consumption etc. Consequently historical
movements can be replayed to visualize previous activities in the area.
This, along with collected key gures in tabular form, can be used to
optimize the business.
If the truck that transports the material to the building site, and the wheel
loader at the building site is incorporated into the system, there will be
an unbroken chain and ability to track the material from the mining
area to its nal location.
Internet: www.supermap.com
www.gisoftware.eu
Ar t i c l e
33
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Fleet Management Solutions different components
Each vehicle is equipped with GPS and a touch screen computer The computer displays a map showing the area
containing all objects, piles, middle storages, silos, etc, and all vehicles in real time
Current Developments in the Technology
Airborne Topographic Laser Scanners
The recent Intergeo 2010 conference and trade fair and the ELMF 2010 forum and exhibition have
both served to highlight the many new developments that have been taking place in airborne topo-
graphic laser scanners. Indeed, as a result of all of this activity and innovation, airborne laser scan-
ning is a booming sector of the mapping industry and a flourishing area for the system suppliers. This
article discusses the main advances that are occurring in the technology and presents an overview and
survey of those systems that are operational and are currently available on the market.
Introduction
After a rather long and quite slow period of development from the
mid-1990s onwards, over the last ve or six years, airborne laser
scanning has seen big advances in its technology. So much so that
it has become a mainstream mapping technology alongside airborne
digital imaging. Indeed, nowadays, these two complementary air-
borne technologies are often used in combination for mapping pur-
poses, producing the digital elevation and image data that are
required for many topographic mapping applications. Thus, for
example, many orthophotos are now produced from this partic-
ular combination of data. Based on information from both pub-
lished and private sources, I would estimate that there are well
over four hundred airborne laser scanners in operational use
world-wide at the present time. Given that the cost of a single
full-blown airborne laser scanner system (including its obligatory
GNSS/IMU unit and its optional digital camera) lies in the range
$500,000 to $1.3 million, in total, this amounts to an enormous
capital investment in the technology by the mapping industry.
However, although the airborne laser scanner is now well estab-
lished as a mapping tool, the technology is still being developed
apace with the prospect of a further considerable improvement
in performance, especially with regard to the density of points
that can be measured over the ground. Many users, especially
in the engineering eld, are requesting very high densities of
accurately measured elevations as high as several tens of
points per square metre for elevation data having height accura-
cies in the sub-decimetre class and apparently they are willing
to pay for such detailed and accurate 3D data. At the other end
of the mapping scale, e.g. in the context of regional or state-
wide terrain modelling and other large-area surveys, there are
calls for ever greater coverage of the terrain from a single ight
which, in practice, means that this type of laser-derived eleva-
tion data has to be acquired and measured from ever greater
ying heights.
On the hardware side, there has been a continuous develop-
ment of laser rangender technology in order to generate the
power that is needed for scanner operations from ever higher
altitudes and at pulse rates that meet the needs for ever higher
point densities. Other interesting developments include the exten-
sion of the wavelengths that are used by airborne laser scan-
ners from the near infra-red (NIR) [ = 0.7 to 1.4 m], which has
mostly been used in the past, to the blue-green part of the spectrum
[ = 400 to 550 nm] and to the short wavelength infra-red (SWIR)
[ = 1.4 m to 3 m]. Those laser rangenders that are using these
shorter and longer wavelengths exhibit quite different characteris-
tics, e.g. in terms of water penetration and eye-safety respectively,
to those in the NIR part of the spectrum that we have become used
to.
34
January/February 2011
Ar t i c l e
By Gordon Petrie
Fig. 1 Diagram showing the overall principle of airborne laser scanning, with (i) the position, height and attitude of the
scanner being measured by the GNSS/IMU sub-system on board the aircraft, while (ii) the slant range and scan angle values
between the aircraft and the ground are being measured simultaneously by the laser rangefinder and the angular encoder
attached to the scanning mechanism, resulting (iii) in a profile of measured ground elevation values in the cross-track direc-
tion. (Source: Leica Geosystems)
I Technological Aspects &
Components
Overall Concept & Principal
Components
The overall concept of the airborne laser
scanner is that (i) the position, height
and attitude of the airborne platform
(together with that of the scanner which is
mounted on it) are being measured continu-
ously in-ight by an on-board GPS/IMU or
GNSS/IMU unit with specic reference to a
nearby GPS ground base station or a wide-
area correction service such as OmniSTAR.
(ii) Simultaneously a dense series of
ranges and the corresponding scan
angles from the platform to the ground are
being measured very rapidly across the ter-
rain in the cross-track direction by the laser
rangender and by the angular encoder that
is attached to the scanning mechanism. (iii)
Combining these two sets of measurements
results in the determination of a line of ele-
vation values at known positions (with X, Y,
Z coordinates) forming a prole across the
terrain in the cross-track direction [Fig. 1].
The successive series of these measured pro-
les that are acquired in parallel as the air-
borne platform ies forward forms a digi-
tal terrain model or 3D point cloud of
the terrain area that has been scanned.
Besides the measurement of the slant
range values using a very precise clock,
the scanner detectors will also measure the
intensity (or energy) value of the returned
pulse. However this latter information is
often very noisy and difcult to interpret or
to utilize. Up till now, the intensity values
appear to be of limited interest to most users
of airborne laser scan data, whose interest
and attention is usually focussed on the posi-
tional and elevation data that is provided
by the laser scanner.
The main hardware components of a typi-
cal scanner are shown in Fig. 2. The slant
range to each successive point along the
ground prole is determined through the
very accurate measurement of the time-of-
ight (TOF) between the emission of the
pulse that has been red by the laser
rangender and its reception back at the
rangender after reection from the ground.
Obviously the rate at which the laser
rangender res its successive pulses the
pulse repetition frequency (or PRF)
and the rate at which the ground is being
scanned while the proles are being mea-
sured the scan rate are vital parame-
ters in determining the actual density of the
points that are being measured on the
ground.
Multiple Pulses
However the matter of the number of pulses
that are being red towards the ground is
not dependent purely on the rate at which
the laser rangender can operate, but also
on the ying height (H) of the airborne
platform from which it is being operated.
Thus, for a ying height of 1,000 m, each
individual pulse that is red by the laser
rangender in the nadir direction will travel
a distance of 2,000 m (2 km) to the ground
and back. So the total elapsed time for this
return trip to the ground and back will
amount to 2/300,000 seconds = 6.7 s
(microseconds) where the speed of light is
300,000 km/sec. Thus, in earlier types of
airborne laser scanner, this time period had
to elapse before the next pulse could be
red towards the ground. This meant that
the maximum PRF value that could be
achieved from that specic ying height of
1 km was 150,000 Hz (= 150 kHz) even
though the laser rangender itself could re
its pulses at much greater rates. If higher y-
ing heights were being used for example
to acquire greater ground coverage from a
single ight then the elapsed time of trav-
el for each pulse would be greater and the
effective pulse rate of the rangender would
need to be lowered accordingly. The
increase in the slant range as the scan angle
increases away from the nadir direction
must also be taken into account.
This particular limitation has now been over-
come to a considerable extent with the intro-
duction by all the major laser system suppli-
ers of the technique of having multiple pulses
measured in the air simultaneously within a
single prole scan. This feature is called
multiple-pulses-in-the-air (MPiA) by
Leica Geosystems; continuous multi-
pulse (CMP) by Optech; and multiple
time around (MTA) by RIEGL.
Irrespective of these differences in the name,
their common adoption of this particular
technique means that the laser rangender
can re a new pulse towards the ground
without having to wait for the arrival of the
reection of the previous pulse at the instru-
ment. Thus more than one measuring cycle
can be taking place at any specic moment
of time. It is not clear from the suppliers lit-
erature how many of these cycles may be
used simultaneously. In practice, there must
be a maximum gure depending on the y-
ing height at which the scanner is being
operated. However the use of up to three
such cycles has been reported in the case
of RIEGLs latest LMS-Q680i scanner. With
the introduction of this technique, maximum
pulse rates have risen to 200 kHz and
beyond though the actual value that is
used will still be dependent on the ying
height.
Scan Patterns & Scan Rates
The matter of the scan patterns and scan rates
that are being used in a particular model of
scanner is also of considerable importance in
achieving the desired point density and cov-
erage of the terrain. Both the Optech and
Ar t i c l e
35
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Fig. 2 This diagram shows the relationship between the main hardware components of an airborne laser scanner system using the RIEGL LMS-Q560 as
the example. (Source: RIEGL; redrawn by M. Shand)
Fig. 3 (a) The saw-toothed pattern of scanning over the ground pro-
duced by the Optech ALTM scanners; and (b) the corresponding pattern
produced by the Leica ALS scanners in both cases, using a bi-direction-
al scanning mirror. (Source: Optech)
[a] [b]
Leica laser scanners achieve their ground cov-
erage through the bi-directional scanning of
the terrain using oscillating mirrors controlled
by galvanometers or servo motors. This means
that the mirrors have to slow down and stop
(at the turning points) before reversing their
direction of scan and accelerating away on
the return sweep. The mirrors need to be very
light weight but very stiff in order to achieve
the high scan rates that are needed. The result-
ing scan pattern over the ground is saw-
toothed in the case of the Optech ALTM scan-
ners [Fig. 3 (a)] and sinusoidal in the case of
the Leica ALS scanners [Fig. 3 (b)]. In both
cases, the maximum scan rate that can be
achieved using bi-directional scanning is
inversely proportional to the eld of view
(FOV) that is being employed. Obviously a
narrow FOV can have a higher scan rate than
can be achieved with a wide FOV. For exam-
ple, a maximum scan rate of 100 Hz can be
achieved with the Leica ALS60 scanner with
a narrow FOV of 15 degrees, falling to 40
Hz at the ALS60s maximum FOV value of 75
degrees.
In the case of the RIEGL scanners, a continu-
ously rotating optical polygon is used to pro-
vide a uni-directional scan at a constant rota-
tional velocity over the ground. This
arrangement provides high scan rates 200
Hz maximum in the case of the RIEGL LMS-
Q680i model regardless of the eld of view
(FOV), since the mirror does not have to slow
down and stop to reverse its scan direction.
The use of the continuous rotating optical
polygon also results in a regular raster pat-
tern of points being measured to provide the
required coverage over the ground [Fig. 4].
Yet another scanning pattern, which is used
in the TopEye Mk II, TopEye Mk III and
AHAB DragonEye laser scanners that are
manufactured in Sweden, is the so-called
Palmer scan. This pattern was rst utilized
in NASAs ATM and AOL laser scanners
from the 1990s. It makes use of a nutating
mirror to produce a continuous series of
overlapping elliptical scans over the ground
surface as the airborne platform ies for-
ward [Fig. 5]. As with the RIEGL scanners,
the scan mirrors of the TopEye Mk II and Mk
III and the AHAB DragonEye rotate continu-
ously and do not have to slow down and
stop, as is the case in those scanners that
employ bi-directional scanning over the
ground. The advantage of this conguration
is that each point on the ground is scanned
twice from different directions. This allows
measurements to be made to those points
that were occluded during the rst pass. The
reported disadvantage is the complexity
involved in processing the two sets of mea-
surements for each ground point that have
been obtained with a certain time difference
between them from different positions and
with different orientations in the air.
However AHAB has assured me that, in
practice, this has proven not to be a prob-
lem.
Dual (or Multiple) Pulse Streams
Since it is difcult to envisage substantial
increases in the scan rate, the three major
system suppliers have all been exploring the
possibilities of increasing still further the den-
sity of points being measured on the ground.
This is being done using dual streams of
laser pulses to carry out range measure-
ments between the scanner and the ground
simultaneously. In the case of RIEGL, its BP-
560 system utilizes twin LMS-Q560 laser
scanners [Fig. 6 (a)] which are mounted on
a frame which is installed in a specially built
carbon-bre belly pod (BP) that is attached
to the underside of a Diamond DA42 MPP
(Multi-Purpose Platform) twin piston-engined
aircraft [Fig. 6 (b)]. The two laser scanners
are operated simultaneously, both ring their
pulses in a coordinated manner. This allows
both the scan rate and the pulse rate to be
doubled when both laser scanners are being
operated simultaneously in a nadir pointing
conguration. This dual scanner arrange-
ment results in two streams of laser pulses
reaching the ground in parallel, instead of
the single stream that will result from the use
of a single scanner. The two RIEGL scanners
that are being used in the BP-560 system
share a common GPS/IMU sub-system,
which can be supplied either by IGI or
Fig. 4 The raster scan pattern
over the ground that is produced
by a continuously rotating
uni-directional polygon mirror.
(Drawn by M. Shand)
Ar t i c l e
36
January/February 2011
Fig. 5 The overlapping ellipsoidal patterns over the ground that are
produced using progressive Palmer scans. (Drawn by M. Shand)
Fig. 6 (a) This illustration shows the twin LMS-Q560 laser scanners of the RIEGL BP560 system mounted on a carbon-fibre frame. The two scanners are
separated by a digital frame camera and the systems IMU. The frame and its contents are then enclosed in a purpose-built lightweight belly pod which is
fitted to the underside of a Diamond DA42 MPP aircraft.
(b) A CAD drawing showing the position of the belly pod on the DA42 MPP aircraft. (Source: RIEGL; (a) re-drawn by M. Shand)
[a]
[b]
Applanix. So far, only a very few of these
systems have come into operation. A limita-
tion is that the BP-560 system with its spe-
cially built belly pod was designed speci-
cally for use with the Diamond DA42 MPP
aircraft and is not available for use with
other survey aircraft.
In the case of Optech, the company has
developed its Pegasus airborne laser scan-
ner system. Again this employs dual scan-
ner units, but with shared electronics as well
as a shared Applanix GPS/IMU position
and orientation system. Only a few Pegasus
scanner systems have been operated till
now. However it is possible to envisage fur-
ther scanner units say one or two more
being added to this modular system, so
increasing the scan rate and pulse measure-
ment rate still further. With regard to Leica,
the company has just announced its Point
Density Multiplier technology at the
recent Intergeo 2010 trade fair. This new
technology is being implemented in its newly
announced ALS70 airborne laser scanner.
This will retain the single laser scanner of
the previous ALS50 and ALS60 models, but
it features a more powerful laser rangend-
er that will generate twin pulses simultane-
ously using a beam splitter. One of the two
streams of laser pulses is tilted slightly from
the nadir direction so that the two streams
of pulses cover the ground in parallel. Again
this effectively doubles both the scan rate
and the pulse measurement rate to ensure
the acquisition of a greater density of eleva-
tion values over the ground.
Laser Rangenders
The laser rangender (LRF) is a major com-
ponent in the overall airborne laser scanner
system. While its operational characteristics
(PRF, scan rate, etc.) appear on the data
sheets published by the system suppliers,
information about the actual types of laser,
the wavelengths being used, etc. is seldom
released by the system suppliers. Yet, at the
same time, the various manufacturers of the
actual lasers are not slow to proclaim that
their lasers are being used in airborne laser
scanners. The difculty lies in matching the
two which lasers are being used on which
scanners? Only NASA with its research
laser scanners is willing to give detailed
information on this matter. From this source,
it is well known that powerful Q-switched
solid state lasers using Nd:YAG and
Nd:YVO4 rods (that emit their pulses at =
1064 nm) and Nd:YLF rods (that utilize =
1046 nm) have been used in the laser
rangenders that are employed in certain
airborne laser scanners. However other
types of solid state lasers are in use in cer-
tain other scanners, as are semi-conductor
diode lasers.
In general terms, more powerful lasers need
to be employed as the operational ying
heights get higher. In which case, eye safe-
ty becomes a matter of increasing concern.
In this context, it is interesting to note the
increasing use of bre lasers on airborne
laser scanners. These lasers employ a spe-
cial type of optical bre doped with a rare
earth such as erbium which emits its pulses
at wavelengths around = 1540 nm in the
short wavelength infra-red (SWIR) part of the
spectrum with wavelengths above =
1400 nm being reckoned to be eye-safe.
These optical bres can be quite long, but
can be coiled up to form a very compact
laser that is pumped by a relatively inexpen-
sive diode laser and uses bre Bragg grat-
ings on the bre ends as internal reectors
[Fig. 7 (a)]. These bres exhibit excellent
thermal dissipation when used in a high
powered operation. Indeed, at the ELMF
2010 exhibition held recently in The Hague,
bre lasers of this type for use in laser scan-
ners were being shown by the Manlight
company from Lannion in France [Fig. 7 (b)].
It was only too apparent that the system sup-
plier who utilizes these bre lasers in its air-
borne laser scanner products had a stand
that was located only a few metres away
from the Manlight booth.
Detectors & Data Recording
Most earlier types of airborne laser scanner
only detected and recorded single echoes
(the rst return) or two echoes (the rst and
last returns) from the returning signals reect-
ed from the ground objects that have been
struck by the laser pulse. However, many of
the more recently introduced models have
the capability of recording multiple (usually
three or four) discrete echoes or returns, e.g.
those from trees and branches as well as the
ground which can be useful when map-
ping vegetation or forests. Other scanners
have also been developed to carry out full
waveform digitizing and recording
by which the complete analogue waveform
showing the intensities of the reected pulse
from its leading edge to its trailing edge is
digitized and recorded for each successive
pulse that is emitted by the scanner and
strikes the ground objects. Thus the entire
return signal for each pulse is being mea-
sured in terms of intensity values as a func-
tion of time. In the case of the RIEGL LMS-
Q560 and LMS-Q680i series, this capability
is an integral part of the scanner. With the
Leica ALS scanners, it takes the form of an
additional waveform digitizer module
(WDM65). The digitization is carried out
with a recording interval of 1 or 2 ns, so the
use of this technique demands enormous
data storage. It is not clear that the resulting
data is of value outside the research domain
and certain forestry applications.
Nevertheless, the three main system suppli-
ers RIEGL (with its DR560 and DR680 data
recorders), Leica (with its DLM65 recorder)
Ar t i c l e
Fig. 7 (a) Diagram showing the basic arrangement of a diode-pumped fibre laser. (Source: Optronics Research Centre, Univ. of Southampton)
(b) A miniaturized Mentad fibre laser transmitter that emits its pulses at the wavelength () of 1550 nm. A comparison of its size with the pen at the top
of the photo emphasizes the small size of the unit. (Source: Manlight)
Fig. 8 (a) The Optech and (b) the RIEGL DR680 waveform digital data recording units. (Sources: Optech & RIEGL)
38
January/February 2011
[a] [b]
[a] [b]
and Optech all now offer a waveform
recorder based on the use of removable
solid state drives as an option for attachment
to the appropriate models in the range of air-
borne laser scanners that each of them offers
[Fig. 8].
Within this particular area, it is also interest-
ing to note that NASA is using photon
detectors in its experimental SIMPL (Swath
Imaging Multi-Polarization Photon-counting
Lidar) project. This is a prototype airborne
laser scanner instrument which is intended to
focus on its potential to carry out (i) the map-
ping of land topography; (ii) the mapping
of glaciers and large areas of land and sea
ice, and (iii) vegetation mapping. The pho-
ton detectors have the ability to detect and
count the individual photons reected by the
terrain surface from the very short pulses that
are generated by small bre lasers [Fig.
9 (a)]. These lasers can generate short low
energy pulses at a high repetition rate that
have a small ground footprint. The underly-
ing concept behind the SIMPL project is that,
once the basic technology is proven, it will
use multiple examples of these bre lasers,
which will be operated in a pushbroom
conguration. Essentially, if this scheme
proves to be successful, then a fully devel-
oped instrument would carry out swath
mapping of the ground with multiple lasers
and detectors operating in a fan congura-
tion producing elevation proles in parallel
in the along-track direction [Fig. 9 (b)]. This
would eliminate the use of scanning mirrors
which is a feature of all current airborne laser
scanners. [N.B. It is not too different a con-
cept to that of the multi-beam sonar which is
used in underwater bathymetric mapping,
but, in this case, with the airborne laser scan-
ner sending multiple light pulses through the
air simultaneously instead of the sonar emit-
ting multiple acoustic pulses underwater
simultaneously!]
Imaging
The intensity values that are returned by the
laser pulses that are being reected from the
topographic features produce a rather
noisy or grainy image on which is often
difcult to interpret and precisely delineate
the individual ground objects. Indeed much
of the information content that is provided
by a dedicated imaging device cannot be
duplicated or matched by the intensity
image from the laser scanner. Thus almost
all airborne topographic laser scanner sys-
tems are equipped with a supplementary
imaging device or sub-system that can gen-
erate much higher quality images in terms
of their resolution and texture as well as their
colour content. Originally very small-format
video cameras were used in this role. One
or two users have also used pushbroom
imaging line scanners for this purpose.
However, nowadays, the imaging device is
almost always a medium-format digital
frame camera with a format that can range
in size from 16 to 60 Megapixels. The cam-
era and the laser scanner are usually mount-
ed rigidly together on a common base plate
or mount [Fig. 10]. The spatial relationship
of the two devices is then determined very
exactly through measurement during cali-
bration. For operational use, the two devices
are closely integrated and they will normal-
ly share ight management and control sub-
systems in common, together with a single
shared GNSS/IMU sub-system.
Given the number of airborne laser scanners
that are in current operation, when added
together, the total number of cameras that
have been supplied as part of a laser scan-
ner system form a very large segment of the
airborne medium-format digital frame cam-
era market. Previously these cameras were
mostly supplied to the laser scanner system
integrators and suppliers by Applanix and
RolleiMetric, both of which have been
acquired by Trimble. However, more recent-
ly, the main suppliers of laser scanner sys-
tems have moved to ensure that these cam-
eras are produced in-house under their own
control and to their own prot, rather than
being bought in from a commercial rival. By
doing this, the servicing and support
arrangements for the cameras can also be
simplied.
Thus, in 2007, Leica Geosystems rst
started to t its own RCD105 camera
which it sourced from Geospatial Systems
Inc. (GSI) in the U.S.A. to its range of ALS
laser scanners. At Intergeo 2010, Leica
introduced its new RCD30 medium-format
digital frame camera, which it builds in-
house in its factory in Heerbrugg. This cam-
era can also be integrated with its ALS laser
scanners. Similarly, Optech acquired
DiMAC Systems earlier this year (in June
2010) and will now build the range of
DiMAC medium-format cameras in its man-
ufacturing facility in Vaughan, Ontario with
a view to tting them to its laser scanners.
In a recent further development (in
December 2010), Optech has also pur-
Fig. 9 (a) Diagram illustrating different detector and recording methods
from left to right showing waveform, discrete return and photon
counting methodologies respectively.
(b) The basic concept of SIMPL by which the ground would be covered in
a pushbroom scanning mode using multiple fibre lasers, thus eliminating
the requirement for optical scanning elements. (Source: NASA/GSFC)
Fig. 10 A Leica ALS50 airborne laser scanner and an Applanix DSS 301
medium-format digital frame camera mounted rigidly together on a spe-
cially-built base plate. (Source: Leica Geosystems)
Fig. 11 An IGI LiteMapper system with the RIEGL laser scanner engine
(with its red top) placed at the rear; the IGI AEROcontrol IMU is at front
right; while the IGI DigiCAM and DigiTHERM cameras occupy the central
and left front positions respectively within the specially built anti-vibration
and shock-absorbing mount. (Source: IGI)
Ar t i c l e
39
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
[a]
[b]
chased Geospatial Systems Inc. (GSI), which
produces its TerraPix range of digital metric
frame cameras. These include the medium-
format KCM-39 frame camera; the KCM-IR
thermal-IR camera; and the 3-chip KCM-MS
(or MS-4100) small-format multi-spectral
camera. With regard to the RIEGL-based
scanners, IGI produces its own DigiCAM
and DigiTHERM cameras in-house for inte-
gration with its LiteMapper laser scanners
[Fig. 11], while the Trimble Harrier scan-
ners can be equipped either with the Trimble
Aerial Camera (formerly the RolleiMetric
AIC camera) or one of the Trimble (formerly
Applanix) DSS series.
Accuracy Values
With regard to the range values that are
being measured by the laser rangenders,
the resolution (least count) of a single range
measurement is typically 1 cm, while the
scan angles are being measured with a
resolution of 0.001 degree. The overall
range and elevation accuracies that are
attainable with an airborne laser scanner
are usually related to the ying height (H)
5 cm from H = 500 m; 10 cm from H = 1
km; 15 cm from H = 2 km; 20 cm from H =
3 km; etc. appear to be typical gures in
the published literature. However, as might
be expected, still better gures are claimed
by certain suppliers.
Regarding the geo-referencing component
of the measured data, the position and
attitude values that are provided by the
GNSS/IMU sub-system have certain accu-
racy limitations. Indeed these form the
biggest part of the overall error budget of
an airborne laser scanner system. The
GNSS or GPS receiver is the primary source
of the absolute positional data and is sup-
plemented by that provided by the IMU,
which also supplies the attitude data.
In this context, three different categories of
IMU can be distinguished in terms of their
performance and price.
(i) A high end navigation grade IMU is
usually based on Ring Laser Gyros (RLG).
These are very expensive, so their use is con-
ned to only the most demanding applica-
tions in terms of accuracy.
(ii) A tactical or medium grade IMU is usu-
ally based on the use of Fibre Optic
Gyros (FOG), which are somewhat less
expensive in terms of cost and are widely
used in the GNSS/IMU sub-systems
employed in airborne laser scanner systems.
(iii) Commercial consumer level IMUs are
based on the use of MEMS (Micro Electro-
Mechanical System) gyros. They are much
less expensive, but also less accurate,
although some MEMS gyros are now
approaching the quality of FOGs.
Relating these general remarks about IMUs
to the present discussion about airborne laser
scanners, and taking the Applanix POS AV
GNSS/IMU devices that are widely used as
sub-systems in airborne laser scanners as
examples, the POS AV 610 uses RLG gyros;
the POS AV 510 uses FOG gyros; while the
POS AV 410, 310 and 210 all use MEMS
quartz gyros. The accuracy specications
which are offered by the different versions
of the POS AV system that have been used
in conjunction with the Optech ALTM air-
borne laser scanners are summarized in the
table given above, which is based on data
published by Optech and Applanix.
II - Airborne Topographic Laser
Scanner System Suppliers
As mentioned above, there are three main
commercial suppliers of airborne laser scan-
ners Optech Inc., Leica Geosystems and
RIEGL. A smaller supplier is AHAB from
Sweden. Besides which, two of the largest
providers of mapping services world-wide
Fugro and Blom have both (and quite inde-
pendently) constructed a substantial series
of laser scanners in-house that they operate
routinely in commercial service. Further -
more, quite a number of individual (one-off)
custom-built systems have been constructed
and operated in North America, Western
Europe and Japan. This last group will not
be discussed here, nor will airborne bathy-
metric laser scanners.
Optech Inc.
The Optech company has built its series of
ALTM (Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper) laser
scanners continuously ever since the introduc-
tion of its rst model (the ALTM 1020) in
1993. While the basic conguration has
remained much the same, with each succes-
sive model in the ALTM series, the main ele-
ments have been steadily upgraded and
rened with substantial improvements in both
the pulse repetition rate and scan rate as the
years progressed. The current model in this
series is the ALTM Gemini [Fig. 12 (a)]. This
features a powerful laser rangender that
operates at = 1064 nm with a pro-
grammable pulse repetition rate between 33
and 167 kHz using Optechs multiple pulse
technology. The FOV can be set at angular
values up to 50 degrees, while the scan rate
that can be set at values up to 70 Hz. The
ALTM Gemini can be operated at ying
Fig. 12 (a) An Optech ALTM Gemini system with the laser scanner unit
at right rear and the control electronics cabinet at left rear. In front is the
laptop computer that is used to control the overall system and a small
system display monitor.
(b) The compact Optech Orion laser scanner and its accompanying digital
camera are mounted rigidly together on a tiltable base plate at left. The
laptop computer used as controller and a small display monitor are at
right. (Source: Optech)
Fig. 13 The Optech Pegasus HD400 multi-laser system with the
scanner unit at right. The control electronics cabinet is at left with a laptop
computer and a system display monitor sitting on top of it.
(Source: Optech)
Applanix POS/AV Absolute Accuracy Specications RMSE Values
Model No. 210 310 410 510 610
Position (m) 0.05 0.3 0.05 0.3 0.05 0.3 0.05 0.3 0.05 0.3
Velocity (m/s) 0.01 0.075 0.005 0.005 0.005
Roll & Pitch 0.04 0.015 0.008 0.005 0.0025
(degrees)
True Heading 0.08 0.035 0.015 0.008 0.005
(degrees)
Ar t i c l e
40
January/February 2011
[a]
[b]
heights (H) up to a maximum of 4 km. The sys-
tem incorporates an Applanix POS AV 510
GNSS/IMU sub-system, on the basis of which,
the claimed horizontal positional accuracy is
1/5,500.H. The elevation accuracy will vary
with the ying height and the pulse repetition
rate over the range +/- 5 to 35 cm.
Since 2008, Optech has also offered its com-
pact Orion models for use in lower altitude
operations [Fig. 12 (b)]. The initial Orion
M200 model can operate over the range of
200 to 2,500 m above ground level to carry
out wide area scanning from medium alti-
tudes. The later Orion C200 model that was
introduced in 2009 is designed specically
for low altitude operation, e.g. for use in cor-
ridor surveys or engineering surveys at large
scales, over an altitude range from 50 to
1,000 m. The higher altitude M200 has a
laser rangender operating at = 1064 nm
and has a pulse repetition rate of up to 200
kHz. The rangender in the C200 model oper-
ates at = 1541 nm with an emphasis on eye
safety, having regard to the very low altitudes
at which it may potentially be operated. The
M200 model utilizes the higher grade
Applanix POS AV 510 system as its geo-ref-
erencing system, while the C200 is tted with
a POS AV 410 unit as its GNSS/IMU sub-sys-
tem.
As discussed above, the Pegasus scanner is
the latest product in the Optech ALTM family
with its design based on the use of multiple
laser rangenders operating at = 1064 nm;
a single shared scanner mechanism; and a
single Applanix POS AV 510 GNSS/IMU
sub-system [Fig. 13] Operating in combina-
tion, a twin rangender version of the Pegasus
can produce PRF values up to 400 kHz, giv-
ing rise to the initial commercial version which
is called the Pegasus HD400. This congu-
ration ensures its operation from medium alti-
tudes (up to 2.5 km) and/or its production of
a high density of elevation values on the
ground. It is also possible to congure the
instrument so that one stream of scanner puls-
es is nadir pointing while the other points in a
forward direction. This allows better coverage
of the vertical sides of cliffs and buildings and
will also aid the detection of the masts and
wires that are so important for aircraft safety
and will appear on airport approach charts.
Leica Geosystems
Leica Geosystems rst entered the airborne
laser scanner market in January 2001 through
its purchase of the Azimuth Corporation, a
small American company based in
Massachusetts that had developed its
Aeroscan laser scanner. This system was re-
branded and sold by Leica as its ALS40 scan-
ner. In 2003, a new and much smaller and
more compact design called the ALS50 was
introduced. This was followed, in 2006, by
an improved version called the ALS50-II
which introduced multiple pulse technology to
the range, allowing pulse rates to be
increased up to 150 kHz. Shortly afterwards,
production was switched from Massachusetts
to Leicas main manufacturing plant in
Heerbrugg, Switzerland. In 2007, Leica intro-
duced its Corridor Mapper design [Fig.
14 (a)], which, as the title suggests, is
designed for corridor and other types of map-
ping at large scales from lower altitudes up to
1,000 m above ground level. This was fol-
lowed by the introduction of the ALS60 model
which represented a still further upgrade of
the ALS50-II design with pulse repetition rates
of up to 200 kHz [Fig. 14 (b)].
Although the ALS40 and, initially, the ALS50
systems both incorporated the Applanix POS
AV GPS/IMU as their geo-referencing sub-sys-
tem, in 2004, the Applanix company was
acquired by Trimble, one of Leica
Geosystems main competitors across the
whole eld of surveying and mapping instru-
mentation. This led to Leicas purchase of the
small Terramatics company based in Calgary,
Canada in 2005. This company had already
developed its IPAS (Inertial Position & Attitude
System) GPS/IMU product and this was quick-
ly adapted and incorporated into the ALS50
scanner and its successors. As with the Optech
Ar t i c l e
Fig. 14 (a) A Leica ALS Corridor Mapper system. The laser scanner is
contained in the black box at left rear; while the large electronics cabinet
at right rear contains the controllers for both the RCD105 frame camera
and the laser scanner. At the front, the RCD105 medium-format digital
frame camera has been placed between the two display monitors for the
pilot (at left) and the systems operator (at right) respectively.
(b) This Leica ALS60 laser scanner and its accompanying RCD105 digital
frame camera have been mounted together on a PAV80 gyro-controlled
mount. (Source: Leica Geosystems)
Fig. 15 (a) The RIEGL LMS-Q680i; and (b) VQ-580 laser scanner engines. (Source: RIEGL)
Fig. 16 The new universal nose cone for the Diamond DA42 MPP
aircraft into which the RIEGL LMS-Q680i laser scanner can be fitted
(a) as shown at Intergeo 2010; and (b) as fitted to a DA42 MPP
aircraft. (Source: RIEGL)
41
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
[a] [b]
[a]
[b]
[a]
[b]
ALTM scanners, the performance of the succes-
sive models in the Leica ALS series has been
steadily augmented and improved over the
years. With the ALS60 model that was intro-
duced at the ISPRS Congress in 2008, the
pulse rate had risen to a maximum of 200 kHz
employing multi-pulse technology, while the
maximum scan rate had increased to 100 Hz.
The very latest ALS70 model which has only
just been introduced to the market by Leica
Geosystems is offering a still higher perfor-
mance employing its Point Density Multiplier
technology. As discussed above, this model
will generate two streams of laser pulses simul-
taneously using a single laser rangender and
scanning mechanism in combination with a
beam splitter and a multiple pulse operating
regime. The initial announcement mentions a
maximum effective pulse rate of 500 kHz
being attainable from a ying height of 1,000
m above ground level and a 200 Hz scan rate
using the dual stream of laser pulses.
RIEGL Laser Measurement
Systems
Although RIEGL was already a well estab-
lished manufacturer of laser measuring instru-
ments such as distance and speed meters,
ground-based laser rangers and scanners, air-
craft altimeters and anti-collision devices, the
company did not enter the eld of airborne
laser scanning until 2003. However it has
done so in a very different manner to that
of Optech and Leica, who are suppliers
of complete systems. Instead RIEGL has
chosen to develop within the airborne
scanning eld principally as an OEM
supplier of laser scanning engines, each
comprising a laser rangender and scan-
ning mechanism, together with the asso-
ciated timing circuitry and control elec-
tronics. These laser scanning engines
have been supplied to a number of sys-
tem suppliers and commercial mapping
service providers, who have added a
GNSS/IMU sub-system, developed the
appropriate software and integrated all
these hardware and software compo-
nents to create the nal complete airborne
scanning systems. Although this activity as an
OEM supplier forms a very large part of
RIEGLs business within the airborne laser
scanner sector, RIEGL has also built and sup-
plied a number of complete systems to cus-
tomers, albeit on a much smaller scale.
The main LMS-Qxxx series of RIEGL laser
scanner engines that have been built for use
in airborne systems have been developed
along two main lines. The rst of these, com-
prising the LMS-Q140 and the later LMS-
Q240 laser scanning engines, have been
designed specically for use from relatively
low altitudes, e.g. for corridor mapping or
power line surveys, and are normally operat-
ed from a helicopter. The other main line, com-
prising the LMS-Q280 and the later LMS-
Q560 engines, were designed to act as the
basis for laser scanner systems that are being
operated from higher altitudes and mounted
on xed-wing aircraft. The latest and most
powerful model in this LMS-Qxxx series is the
LMS-Q680i which was announced early this
year (2010) [Fig. 15 (a)]. This features a max-
imum laser pulse repetition rate of 400 kHz
using RIEGLs multiple pulse technology (with
3 pulses in the air simultaneously) together
with a maximum scan rate of 200 Hz over a
60 degree FOV. This performance is claimed
to produce an effective measurement rate of
266,000 coordinated points per second. A
special version of this scanner is the NP680i
which can be supplied as a complete system
(not just a laser scanner engine), including a
GNSS/IMU unit and a medium-format digital
frame camera, and is designed to be tted
into the new universal nose of the Diamond
DA42 MPP aircraft [Fig. 16]. This replaces the
previous LMS-S560 product which utilized
a single LMS-Q560 scanner in the belly pod
that can be mounted on the Diamond DA42
MPP aircraft, as already discussed above.
Another new development from RIEGL has been
the introduction of its new V-Line series of
compact and lightweight laser scanner engines
in the autumn of this year (2010). So far, two
models the VQ-480 and VQ-580 have
appeared in this series [Fig. 15 (b)]. A compar-
ison of the data sheets for these two products
reveals an almost identical performance, includ-
ing a maximum laser pulse repetition rate of
300 kHz; a maximum scan rate of 100 Hz;
and an effective measurement rate of 150,000
coordinated points per second. The maximum
operating altitude for both of these scanner
engines is circa 1,000 m above ground level.
The VQ-480 scanner is intended for lower-alti-
tude applications such as corridor mapping
and power line inspection, while the VQ-580
is said by RIEGL to be especially designed to
measure on snow and ice.
RIEGL-Based Systems
A number of German system suppliers have
based their airborne laser scanner products
on the laser engines that have been supplied
to them by RIEGL on an OEM basis. One of
the principal system suppliers and system inte-
grators is the IGI company with its range of
LiteMapper airborne laser systems. To the
basic RIEGL laser scanner engine, IGI then
adds its own CCNS (Computer Controlled
Navigation System) for ight navigation and
precise data acquisition and its AEROcontrol
GNSS/IMU for direct geo-referencing. The
laser scanner engine and these sub-systems
are then integrated together with IGIs pur-
pose-built LMcontrol unit and various soft-
ware modules that have been developed in-
house by IGI. Currently the systems that result
from the integration of all these hardware
and software modules include the
LiteMapper 4800 (based on the new
RIEGL VQ-480 scanner engine); the
LiteMapper 5600 (based on the LMS-
Q560) [Fig. 17]; and the LiteMapper
6800-400 (based on the LMS-Q680i).
Besides which, IGIs DigiCAM medium-for-
mat digital frame camera and DigiTHERM
digital thermal IR camera are both optional
items that can be added to a LiteMapper
scanner system.
Ar t i c l e
42
January/February 2011
Fig. 17 An IGI LiteMapper 5600 system. Sitting on an anti-vibration mount occupying the right side of this picture is the RIEGL LMS-Q560 laser scanner
engine (with the red top) with the AEROcontrol IMU and DigiCAM camera both placed in front of it. In the middle of the picture is the LMcontrol unit. At the
left are the AEROcontrol and DigiControl units and the systems display monitors, with the data recorder placed behind the two displays. (Source: IGI)
Fig. 18 A Trimble Harrier 56 laser scanner system. The RIEGL laser scanner engine and
the accompanying medium-format digital frame camera are housed in the cases shown at
right. At left is the electronics control cabinet containing the control computer, the Applanix
POSTrack sub-system and the data recording units, together with a tablet computer and a
display monitor. (Source: Trimble GeoSpatial)
A very similar range of laser scanner systems is also available from the
GeoSpatial Division of Trimble, which acquired Topo Sys, another
German system supplier, in September 2008. In this way, Trimble entered
the airborne laser scanner business, having acquired the TopoSys Harrier
product line. These Harrier laser scanners parallel the IGI products, but,
in each case, the IGI sub-systems are replaced by the equivalent products
e.g. the POS AV GNSS/IMU for geo-referencing and the POSTrack
integrated ight management system from Applanix, which is also part
of the Trimble organisation. Either a Trimble (Applanix) DSS digital cam-
era or a Trimble Aerial Camera can also be tted to any of the Harrier
laser scanners as an additional optional item. Currently Trimble offers its
Harrier 48 (based on the RIEGL VQ-480 scanner engine); Harrier 56
(based on the LMS-Q560) [Fig. 18]; and Harrier 68i (based on the
LMS-Q680i) models in this particular eld.
Besides the systems that are sold to customers by IGI and Trimble, RIEGL
has also supplied its OEM laser scanner engines direct to a number of
mapping service providers in North America who have carried out the
integration of these engines and their development into fully operational
laser scanner systems in-house. Examples of these include (i) Lidar
Services International (LSI) in Calgary, Canada, which operates three
of its Helix systems two helicopter-based and one mounted in a Cessna
xed-wing aircraft all of which are equipped with RIEGL laser scanner
engines; (ii) the three ALMIS-350 helicopter-borne systems developed by
the Terrapoint division of the Ambercore company, which has its head-
quarters in Ottawa, Canada and operational bases in Houston, Texas
and Calgary, Alberta; and (iii) Tuck Mapping Solutions from Virginia
with its three eagleye systems, all operated from Bell helicopters.
AHAB
The Airborne Hydrography AB (AHAB) company, which is located in
Jonkoping, Sweden, is best known for its development of the HawkEye-
II airborne bathymetric laser scanner system, three of which are in cur-
rent operation world-wide with Pelydryn Ltd., based in Newport, South
Wales in the U.K. AHAB also developed the laser rangenders and
scanners that formed part of the upgrade of the original Blom TopEye
systems into the TopEye Mk. II systems. However AHAB has also devel-
oped a very compact topographic laser scanner system for operation
from lower altitudes (up to 1 km) over land surfaces, called DragonEye
[Fig. 19 (a)]. This system is equipped with a laser rangender having a
maximum PRF of 300 kHz at H = 200 m and 200 kHz at H = 500 m
and detectors that can record up to four return echoes per pulse. The
DragonEye has a Palmer scan mechanism that generates an elliptical
scanning pattern over the ground at scan rates up to 100 Hz [Fig. 19
(b)]. The GNSS/IMU sub-system that is currently used in the DragonEye
is the iTraceRT-F200-E manufactured by iMAR in Germany, which uti-
lizes a FOG (Fibre Optic Gyro)-based IMU. Like all other topographic
laser scanners, the DragonEye can be supplied with either video or dig-
ital frame cameras to generate the accompanying imagery.
43
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Fig. 19 (a) The AHAB DragonEye laser scanner (at right) togeth-
er with the laptop computer (at left), which is used to control its
operation.
(b) Showing the elliptical scanning pattern of the DragonEyes
Palmer scanner over the ground. (Source: AHAB)
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[a]
[b]
III Custom-Built Laser Scanner
Systems
Fugro
According to the Fugro companys Web site,
currently it operates eight of its in-house devel-
oped FLI-MAP systems, mainly through two
of its subsidiary companies John L. Chance
Associates in the U.S.A. and Fugro Aerial
Mapping BV based in the Netherlands.
Development of the original FLI-MAP (Fast
Laser Imaging Mobile Airborne Platform)
began in 1993 and it entered operational ser-
vice in 1995. The FLI-MAP-I and FLI-
MAPII models that followed all date from
the late 1990s, while the later FLI-MAP 400
systems have all been built during the present
decade. All of these scanner systems have
been mounted on helicopter platforms and
have been used primarily for corridor surveys
from low altitudes. However the newest model
in the series, called FLI-MAP 1000, is
designed for use from higher altitudes and is
mounted on xed-wing aircraft.
The FLI-MAP 400 [Fig. 20] employs a laser
rangender with a maximum PRF of 225 kHz,
which is used in conjunction with a continu-
ous rotating four-faced polygon mirror that
allows forward and backward scans as well
as nadir pointing scans. These provide a
raster-based ground pattern over the ground
at a maximum scan rate of 150 Hz. The posi-
tion and orientation system is somewhat unusu-
al, comprising four Trimble GPS receivers.
One is used as the primary navigation receiv-
er, while the data from the other three sec-
ondary receivers and a vertical gyro are used
to derive the values of the heading, roll and
pitch of the platform (and the laser scanner
system). With the FLI-MAP 1000 system, the
PRF of the laser rangender has been
increased to 375 kHz; the scan speed has
been doubled; and a multiple-pulse-in-the-air
technology has been implemented, all of these
improvements allowing 250,000 elevation
points to be acquired per second. All of the
FLI-MAP systems employ various types and
congurations of video and digital frame cam-
eras to provide the images that supplement
the elevation data acquired by the laser scan-
ners. However, for its wider area operations
from higher altitudes, the Fugro EarthData
company uses Leica ALS50-II and ALS60 scan-
ners.
Blom
The Blom TopEye airborne laser scanners orig-
inated with Saab starting in 1993, with the
rst TopEye scanners becoming operational
from the mid-1990s onwards. After a number
of changes in ownership, the TopEye compa-
ny operating the instruments was bought by
Blom in 2005 and, since then, it has become
one of the main operational elements of Blom
Sweden, based in Gothenburg. The original
TopEye Mk I scanners featured oscillating
mirrors producing a Z-shaped pattern of cov-
erage over the ground, similar to that of the
Optech ALTM scanners. However the instru-
ments were re-built (and re-designated as the
TopEye Mk II) from 2004 onwards. The
very substantial upgrade included the installa-
tion of bre lasers operating at = 1064 nm
with a selectable output energy and an effec-
tive pulse rate of 50 kHz. The TopEye Mk II
also employed avalanche photo diodes as
detectors that can record both the rst and last
echoes together with the full intensity wave-
form of the returning pulse after its reection
at the ground. The re-built scanners were also
tted with nutating mirrors that produced an
overlapping elliptical (Palmer scan) pattern
over the ground. The ight altitude envelope
stretched from 60 to 960 m above ground
level.
The latest model in the series is the TopEye
Mark III which incorporates a proprietary
dual-scan technology using (i) a laser
rangender operating at 210 kHz in conjunc-
tion with a Palmer (elliptical) scan mechanism;
and (ii) a RIEGL LMS-Q560 (linear/raster)
laser scanner. The reected pulse echo data
is again being captured as a full intensity
waveform. Not only does this dual scanner
arrangement provide higher density data over
the ground [Fig. 21 (a)], it also acquires its
data at two quite different wavelengths =
1064 nm (NIR) and = 1550 nm (SWIR)
respectively. All the TopEye laser scanners are
designed to be operated from helicopters y-
ing at low altitudes [Fig. 21 (b)]. Seven of
these TopEye scanners have been built, with
ve being operated by the Blom group and a
further two with the Aerotec company in the
U.S.A. For higher-altitude operations, the Blom
group uses both Optech ALTM and Leica
ALS60 laser scanners. Furthermore the Blom
CGR company based in Italy has recently
ordered one of the new Optech Pegasus
HD400 scanners.
Conclusion
Laser scanning from airborne platforms has
already established itself as one of the stan-
dard methods that can be used for the acqui-
sition of digital elevation data which is accu-
rate and reliable enough for many mapping
and visualization purposes, though not all.
However, as this article has shown, airborne
laser scanner technology is still being devel-
oped apace. It will be very interesting to see
what impact these new developments will
have on the overall aerial photogrammetric
scene, especially with regard to the possible
full integration of airborne imaging and laser
scanning technologies.
Gordon Petrie is Emeritus Professor of Topographic Science in the School of
Geographical & Earth Sciences of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
E-mail Gordon.Petrie@ges.gla.ac.uk ;
Web Site http://web2.ges.gla.ac.uk/~gpetrie
Fig. 20 (a) This helicopter is equipped with a FLI-MAP 400 laser scanner system, which is mounted in a frame that is attached to the underside of the
aircraft. Note also the two outrigger pylons, each supporting a GPS antenna.
(b) A CAD drawing of the frame that carries the FLI-MAP laser scanner and the systemss video and digital frame cameras. This is fitted externally to the
underside of the helicopter. (Source: Fugro)
Fig. 21 (a) Showing the respective ground patterns elliptical (in red) and raster (in black) that are being measured by the dual laser scanners of the
Blom TopEye Mk. III system.
(b) The TopEye Mk. III laser scanner system is mounted in the box that is fitted to the underside of this helicopter. (Source: Blom)
Ar t i c l e
44
January/February 2011
[a]
[b]
[a] [b]
HDS User Conference
Leica Geosystems
3D laser scanning industry provider Leica Geosystems held its 8th annual worldwide conference for
users of its High-Definition Surveying (HDS) laser scanners and software. The 24-28 October 2010
conference, held near the companys offices in San Ramon, California, drew 275 registrants from >20
countries; user attendance was up 15% over 2009.
Overview
The conference goal was to help users
increase their success with their laser scan-
ning tools. The conference featured 39 pre-
sentations (most by users) plus 10 training
workshops. An exhibit area showcased the
companys latest laser scanning products,
plus Leica Geosystems geomatics products,
Hexagon metrology products, 3DReshaper
software (a Hexagon company), CyArk (non-
prot, digital heritage preservation organiza-
tion), Zebra Imaging (holograms made from
laser scans), and BlueView Technologies
(underwater scanning).
Many attendees took advantage of extensive
networking opportunities and reported the
greatest value they received was via openly
sharing their experiences and ideas with other
users and developing new partnerships.
Presentations covered the latest HDS applica-
tions & workows, plus many noteworthy pro-
jects over a wide range of markets. A prod-
uct input session, in which users expressed
their wish list for product & service enhance-
ments to key Leica staff, was attended by
>100 engaged users.
A Forensic Scanning Twist
For the rst time, the conference featured a
parallel track on the use of laser scanning
in Forensics, where it is enjoying very rapid
take-up. The conference also featured a spe-
46
January/February 2011
E v e n t
By Geoff Jacobs
Mike Haag of the Albuquerque, NM, USA, police department, instructs over 30 workshop attendees in shooting scene reconstruction and bullet trajectory analysis using a ScanStation C10 laser scanner.
cial, all-day forensics training workshop.
The forensic workshop - on the use of laser
scanning for shooting scene reconstruction
and bullet trajectory determination - was
given by Mike Haag of the Albuquerque,
New Mexico, Police Dept. Detective Haag
is considered an expert in this area. This
was the rst time that such training was
offered at a laser scanning conference. The
workshop was held in cooperation with the
Contra County Sherriffs ofce at their shoot-
ing range, about a 40-minute drive from the
main conference venue.
Training included an outside, live-
re demonstration in which a vehi-
cle was red on with a gun and
real ammunition. Ironically,
although it rained steadily in sunny
California during training, the
ScanStation C10 performed its job
perfectly. The class was shown how
to capture such scenes with scans
& images (from the scanners inter-
nal camera) and how to extract
accurate trajectories using Leica
Geosystems software. More than
30 attendees participated and pro-
vided glowing reports afterwards,
including appreciating the real-
world aspect of using scanning in
inclement weather.
Forensic applications were also
featured in two plenary presen-
tations. One was on the use of
scanning for capturing re and
explosion scenes. Here, Dr.
John DeHaan, a textbook
author in the eld, explained
the importance of a scanners
ability to be placed close to a
wall (i.e. capture data at very
short range) and to capture
laser returns from black charred
surfaces, which can otherwise
be problematic for some scan-
ners. He also pointed out how
scanning burnt scenes can pro-
vide additional, valuable infor-
mation (that cant be easily
detected by photography) via
intensity mapping of laser return
energy. He cited an example of
being to discern, with scanning,
writing in blood on a wall in a
home which had been set on
re. The writing was otherwise
not detectable to the naked eye.
A second plenary forensic pre-
sentation was by John Rusted of Englands
Humberside Police Department on the use of
scanning for capturing road crash scenes.
Benets were twofold: faster capture of the
scene to enable motorways to return more
quickly to normal trafc ow and more com-
plete geometry capture of the scene.
Humberside Police are part of study in which
the technology and tools could be standard-
ized for nationwide deployment. Key user
benets of ScanStation C10 cited for this
application were its excellent range, high-
accuracy at range, success in inclement
weather (in England of all places!), plus ease
of use by police staff.
There were ve (5) forensic track presenta-
tions:
Robert Thompson of NIST presented on
the introduction of traceable standards
into a forensic scene to ensure geometric
accuracy for court cases.
Sgt. Mike Miller of the Cincinnati Police
Dept described steps taken for due dili-
gence in selecting a vendor for their spe-
cic needs and the organizational
growth planned for successful implemen-
tation.
Craig Fries, president of Precision
Simulations Inc., a pioneer in the use of
3D laser scanning for forensics,
described cases where Leica 3D laser
scanning was used to create accurate
analyses and compelling animations for
the purpose of grabbing and keeping
jurors attention.
Herbert Keeler, Chicago Police Dept, pre-
sented on Chicago PD's experience using
3D laser scanning for > 40 police-
involved shootings plus other high-prole
cases since March 2009. The value of
laser scanning to these sensitive investi-
gations was detailed with an emphasis
on the analysis of bullet trajectories and
the creation of self-contained Leica
TruView data sets for both investigators
and prosecutors.
Mike Haag of the Albuquerque PD also
presented on ScanStation validation in
the post-NAS report crime laboratory
environment.
Hands-on Workshops
In addition to the special all-day forensics
shooting reconstruction workshop, a record
nine (9) other -day hands-on workshops
were held. Each was limited to 20 atten-
dees; in total, there were >140 participants
in the workshops. These have become
E v e n t
47
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Dr. Shakhzod Takhirov of the University of California, Berkeley, CA described to conference
attendees the scanning of 20 different types of structures damaged by the 7.0 Haiti
earthquake in January 2010. Image courtesy: University of California, Berkeley
The 2010 Leica Geosystems HDS Worldwide User Conference attracted almost 300 registrants from over 20 countries. User attendance was up +15% over 2009.
increasingly popular thanks to their high
training value and low cost ($195 per work-
shop for 2010).
Workshops were taught by Leica experts and
selected third-party staff. They included:
Point cloud registration and geo-referenc-
ing, including trouble-shooting tips and
when to use each type of available reg-
istration technique (targets, cloud-to-
cloud, closed traverse, etc.)
Field-to-nish scanning workows for civil
infrastructure projects, including topo-
graphic surveys, volumes, and sections
& proles.
Advanced tips for using Cyclone PUBLISH-
ER and external camera imagery to cre-
ate key plans and compelling point cloud
TruViews for web or standalone use.
Ofce workows for creating plant as-
builts from scans, including the use of the
new Reality LINx Model 5.4 software to
create fully intelligent plant models.
ScanStation setup and traversing, includ-
ing the use of the latest ScanStation C10
rmware v2.0 features for optimal eld
productivity.
Cyclone latest features, tips & tricks in
this standing room only class users
learned how to take advantage of the
very newest Cyclone 7.1 software fea-
tures.
3DReshaper and CloudWorx-VR hands-
on instruction on these relatively new soft-
ware products for meshing point clouds
(3DReshaper) and for working with large
point clouds in 3D Studio Max and Maya
modeling and animation software
(CloudWorx-VR).
Photographic techniques for photo-textur-
ing HDS data for heritage archive and
CyArk projects taught by CyArks Justin
Barton, this class educated students how
to maximize image quality for high-end
heritage scanning projects.
Focus on Leica Geosystems Point
Cloud Software
One of the main elements of the 2010 HDS
User Conference was a spotlight on Leica
Geosystems signicant, ongoing investment
in software that enables users to convert
laser scan data into nal deliverables. A key
part of Leica Geosystems positioning in the
laser scanning products business is its
strength in offering a full solution, hard-
ware plus software for creating a wide vari-
ety of deliverables. While the results of R&D
investment in a new scanner, such as the all-
in-one ScanStation C10 introduced in 2009,
are immediately evident to users, results of
software investment are not always so obvi-
ous yet they can be equally, if not even
more important for customer success.
Two presentations by senior Leica Geosystems
staff focused on the latest software develop-
ments. One was a live demo by Guy Cutting
of Cyclone 7.1, released at Intergeo 2010.
The second, by Dr. Rick Bukowski, was on
Leicas point cloud Engine (or pcE), the com-
panys new foundation for its mainstream
Cyclone and CloudWorx applications. This
presentation included a rare preview of excit-
ing, new capabilities planned for Cyclone 7.2
(scheduled for 1Q 2011 release) and
beyond.
The Cyclone 7.1 demo by Guy Cutting cov-
ered the softwares new, automated position-
based target matching capability. He demon-
strated how users can automatically register
scans together using inexpensive checkered
paper targets, without needing to label tar-
gets. The target labeling process and extract-
ing labels for registration can otherwise be
time-consuming and error-prone. The demo
also showcased new viewing modes for local
seeking and high-density viewing that make it
easier to nd and discern features of interest.
Another eagerly awaited Cyclone 7.1 feature
that was demonstrated to applause was the
ability to publish 3D CAD models into the very
popular TruView deliverable. Previously, only
point clouds and images could be published
into this free, intuitive viewing and measur-
ing/markup software.
Powerful Point Cloud Engine -
pcE
Nowhere was the impact of the companys
behind-the-scenes investment in point
cloud software more evident than in the pre-
sentation on the companys new point cloud
Engine foundation (pcE). Literally years in
development, pcE is a new framework that
provides enormous exibility for very quick-
ly adding valuable new features, taking full
advantage of the latest software and com-
puting hardware technologies, and taking
advantage of new scan data formats.
Dr. Bukowski explained that pcE-based prod-
ucts effectively future proof a users invest-
ment in point cloud software, immediately pro-
viding next generation performance for
existing applications, such as creating topo-
graphic maps. One key benet is taking
advantage of new scan data formats. The
number of scan data formats is growing rapid-
ly, as developers have found that specic for-
mats can provide advantages for specic tasks
(such as point cloud viewing, data loading,
etc.). With pcE-based software, as soon as a
codec is written to accept a new scan data
format (generally in a couple of weeks), users
can immediately take advantage of that for-
mat in their application.
Another exciting new element of pcE is its
new, high-speed visualization engine that pro-
vides >10X rendering performance improve-
ment and directly leverages graphics card
E v e n t
48
January/February 2011
A presentation by the University of Firenze (Florence) showed how laser scanning can be used to help accurately recreate complex vaulted ceiling frescoes,
such as this one from Pitti Palace in Florence. image courtesy: University Firenze, Italy
hardware advances. A preview demo of this
not-yet-released capability drew a loud round
of applause and excited cheers. Dr. Bukowski
showed stunning visualization performance
when he ew around and spun a dense, archi-
tectural scan data display based on over a
billion true-color scan points - without any visu-
al delay or degradation of the displayed
image. Thanks to pcEs framework, any pcE
application will be able to take advantage of
this high-speed visualization on any pcE data
format.
pCE also facilitates partnerships in which
third party software vendors who use Leica
Geosystems point cloud engine to manage
point clouds can quickly bring major perfor-
mance improvements to existing applica-
tions that process point clouds into deliver-
ables. Dr. Bukowski explained that INOVx
new, pcE-based Reality LINx Model v4.5,
which processes point clouds into intelligent
plant models, achieved a 3-4X improvement
in point cloud handling within just a couple
of weeks without having to modify its appli-
cation code.
Scanning Structural Damage
from the Haiti Earthquake
One of the more fascinating and timely user
presentations was by Dr. Shakhzod Takhirov of
the University of California, Berkeley on his
departments use of ScanStation 2 for assess-
ing structural damage caused by the massive
7.0 Haiti earthquake in January 2010. Dr.
Takhirovs team scanned 20 different structures
in a week in the summer of 2010 under
extreme conditions, including very high temper-
atures (>100F).
Analysis of scan and image data revealed the
ability to accurately quantify twisting and shift-
ing distortions in a buildings 3D structural enve-
lope. Scan details were also able to provide
valuable insights into the method of failure for
certain structural elements. The scan data and
image deliverables are currently being used to
help classify the extent of damage to various
types of structures and to help determine
whether or not structures can be saved.
Summary
The 2010 Leica Geosystems HDS
Worldwide User Conference not only
offered informative presentations that includ-
ed a new forensics track, but also offered
valuable hands-on training via ten (10)
workshops. Presentations by Leica staff,
including insights into the latest point cloud
software developments, plus numerous net-
working opportunities and an exhibit area
with laser scanning and complementary
products rounded out a highly successful
conference. 98% of responding attendees
indicated they would like to attend a future
HDS User Conference. Details of the ninth
HDS Worldwide User Conference for 2011
are expected to be released soon.
Geoff Jacobs Geoff.jacobs@leicaus.com
Currently Sr. VP, Strategic Marketing for the Scanning Business unit of
Leica Geosystems AG. Geoffs role includes organizing the annual Leica
Geosystems HDS Worldwide User Conference. Geoff has been involved in
laser scanning since 1998 when he joined Cyra Technologies, which was
acquired by Leica Geosystems in 2001. Geoff has a Bachelor of Science in
Engineering from the University of Rochester and a Master of Science in
Engineering from Penn State University. www.leica-geosystems.com/hds
E v e n t
49
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Data Flow
Venice, Italy, 21-23 March 2011
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Applications
and interoperability
CALL FOR PAPER
www.space.corila.it/call
Deadline
Submission of full papers 28 February 2011
A huge amount of data is already provided by
satellites watching to the Earth and the new
services that are going to be implemented,
including high accuracy and high reliability
positioning and navigation systems, are offering
new opportunities. On the other hand, European
Union is challenged to reach a real
interoperability of geographical information
data, through the implementation of the INSPIRE
directive. This conference would like to start
a proper consideration of these issues.
Conference topic
1. EU initiatives, directives and programs for integrated usage of geographical and satellite data.
2. The role of EU regions and regional end users for exploitation of space data.
3. Data interoperability, including space information: goals, successes and problems.
4. Applications and themes, new concepts.
State-of-the-Art Event
European LiDAR Mapping Forum
The first European LiDAR Mapping Forum was quite successful. The event attracted more than 600
registrants from all over the world and offered two days filled with presentations, plus an exhibition
with fifty-one different exhibitors. Topics of interest included mobile mapping systems as well as
bathymetric LiDAR surveying.
T
he rst European LiDAR Mapping Forum was held in the
Netherlands, in The Hague, from November 30th to December
1st. During the two-day event, attendees could participate in two
parallel series of workshops, which offered mapping project and prod-
uct presentations, and scientic research results. LiDAR basics were
explained in a different track of workshops and together with a large
exhibition made this a very well attended two-day program. Overall,
the event was a success, not only in quantity (over 600 registered par-
ticipants), but also in quality: the level of presentations was very high,
and during the exhibition I had some valuable discussions with various
vendors and exhibitors. The geographic scope of the forum was not
limited to Europe only: the event featured projects and participants from
all over the world, making it a very internationally-oriented event, which
I hope will have a successor next year.
Keynote
The rst conference day was opened by George Vosselman from Twente
University (Netherlands) with a keynote presentation on Mapping in
Point Clouds. Developments in laser scanning from the 1980s until
recently were briey sketched out, as well as developments in scanner
performance. Mapping in point clouds involves checking the planimet-
ric quality (mapping accuracy) and the segmentation and classication
of point clouds that potentially belong to the same object surface. A
distinction can be made between the different objects to be surveyed
by either airborne or terrestrial laser scanning techniques. In his conclu-
sion, Vosselman stated that the point clouds generated by today's scan-
ners allow reliable extraction of object surfaces. Point clouds become a
valuable data source for mapping projects.
Fugro
Martin Kodde from Fugro-Inpark B.V., presented the company's inte-
grated approach to city mapping, a combination of FLI-MAP and DRIVE-
MAP, the rst a helicopter-based survey system and the second a vehi-
cle-based survey system.
The FLI-MAP system combines multiple sensors for high-density informa-
tion. DRIVE-MAP offers spherical imagery, high resolution metric
imagery and point clouds with acquisition at speeds up to 80 km/h.
These three image types can be combined, providing a more natural
way to access the point cloud. With a combined approach, the two
systems can be used for city mapping. An example is the city of
Rotterdam, which uses the data for more than just one purpose.
Bathymetric LiDAR Surveying
Bathymetric LiDAR Surveying was a separate track during the event, as
was mobile mapping. One particular project presented was a bathy-
metric LiDAR survey conducted in the Western Me di terranean in August
and September of 2009. Its primary purpose was to map the sand
reserves from the back of the beach to the 10 metre isobath.
The survey was conducted by Fugro LADS Corporation (FLC) using the
LADS MK II Airborne LiDAR Bathymetry (ALB) system. A presentation
described how the project was undertaken and its outcome.
Institut Cartograc de Catalunya
Antonio Ruiz, from the Institut Cartograc de Catalunya, explained how
LiDAR processing is applied in his working environment. Ruiz rst out-
lined the institute's LiDAR resources, as well as an overview of its GPS
stations, leading to the Institute's production methods and their evolution
50
January/February 2011
E v e n t
By Eric van Rees
Presentation of TerraImaging
about 3D data acquisition
in The Netherlands.
over time. Large projects in which the institute is involved are ood-risk
mapping, high precision DTM and DTM in coastal areas. Test projects
involve forestry and agriculture, city change and fusion with images.
A tree species classication project was carried out in collaboration
with the Agriculture Department in Catalonia. Objectives were to check
subsidies to farmers and map and classify three species: olive, almond
and carob tree. Data used were DMC images from summer and win-
ter, 15 centimetre panchro pixel original, LiDAR 1 point/m2 from win-
ter only and 38 eld measured trees and 31 plots (around 300 trees)
with known species.
Topcon
Measuring a new race track with a mobile mapping system was the
topic of the presentation given by Topcon's Andrew Evans. This survey-
ing project was a collaboration between Topcon, Autodesk and
Landscope, among others. The Top con IP-S2 mobile mapping system
was used to capture 20 gigabytes of pano ra mic imagery over a forty-
ve minute per iod. The race track in Silverstone, UK, counted for 18
kilometres with a repeatability of 20 millimetres. The processing time
was another forty-ve minutes.
The imagery was used along with other material such as sound, light
analysis and texturing for a motor sport video game. The lead artist
has the task of bringing all assets together into a single homogeneous
model. Improvement in doing this kind of modelling is necessary, due
to the demands of gamers who want as much detail as possible. Of
interest was not just the imagery of the scanning job itself, but also the
data ow from acquisition to asset, the latter being captured in Autodesk
3DSMax. Although the survey was only one part of the project, the
presentation gave a good impression on the scope of this large and
complex undertaking. Results look promising for the future, since the
speed and convenience of mobilization and acquisition proved to be
well suited to the video game modelling application.
Final Remarks
Overall, this was a high-quality event with valuable information dis-
cussed during the presentations. However, I have some general remarks
about the LiDAR market. It seems that this market is quite big in terms
of products and service providers and has yet to reached a point of
saturation, for instance in the eld of mobile mapping systems. One
can be critical though, as to where the market can support even more
systems or providers of products and services in this eld. It is probably
still too early to answer this question, but I'm sure in the future the land-
scape will change quite a lot. This touches on one general criticism I
have about this conference and that is the voice of the end user, which
I didn't hear enough about during certain presentations. I'd like to hear
more on what the end user expects and can do (and is not able to do)
with a certain product or service. And related to this how standards or
third parties can help in this regard. Although I'm sure the LiDAR mar-
ket is not yet fully developed, it continues to grow in terms of maturity
and standardization. Further competition and bundling of products and
services will lead to a more homogeneous industry. Exhibitions such as
these are a very helpful and useful step in that direction.
Internet: www.lidarmap.org/ELMF
E v e n t
51
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
For more info visit www.thewherebusiness.com/enterprisestrategies
or email naomi@thewherebusiness.com
March 30-31, 2011, Wyndham Chicago, IL
Enterprise Strategies for
Location Intelligence USA
HEAR FROM 30+ LEADING BRANDS
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Your Guide To:
Data standardization, assurance and sharing
The shifting power within the industry how much
longer will the big players dominate?
The exploding phenomenon of open data
Utilizing mobile and sensor based information
Marketing location data to enterprise
GeoWeb, APIs, Web 2.0 and cloud computing are just a few
of the topics that are described in Esris new book Web GIS:
Principles and Applications.
T
echnological developments, both in hardware and software,
have completely changed the geospatial industry in the last two
decades, with the internet one of the main forces behind this
revolution. How GIS has beneted from the development of the inter-
net over these twenty years is one of the topics discussed in this
book. In addition, the book puts todays and tomorrows trends into
perspective, to help the reader understand how Web GIS came into
being and where its headed.
Intentions of the Authors
The writers have attempted to produce a book that concentrates on
methodology and principle, rather than technical details. They aimed
for easy to understand language, plain graphics and comprehen-
sive and systematic chapters. Lastly, they have tried to keep the infor-
mation as current as possible with a look into the future. Its intended
audience is broad, but the authors included study questions and
exercises, so that it also can be used as a college text book.
Structure of the Book
In ten chapters, the authors sketch out the broad landscape that com-
prises Web GIS. They begin with the principles of GIS, the Web and
the fusion of the two. Web GIS is dened as any GIS that uses Web
technology. Or, in a narrower denition, any GIS that uses Web
technology to communicate between components. These compo-
nents consist of a server and different types of clients (desktop,
mobile, web browser). Here were talking about principles of web
technology, like web architecture and how this relates to GIS, when
creating Web GIS. Geospatial Web services are the main topic of
chapter three, perhaps the most important chapter here. It explains
what web services are and their particular benets. Also discussed
are the different web service types and how they can be optimized.
What are geospatial web service standards, and which geospatial
web services can be differentiated?
After the rst three basic chapters, the remainder of the book focus-
es on Web GIS applications. Separate chapters on geospatial
mashups, mobile GIS, geoportals, and Web GIS applications in e-
business and e-governent, illustrate how Web GIS is deployed nowa-
days. We also read where exactly in these elds the challenges for
the future lie. The book concludes with a chapter on hot topics and
new frontiers. Subjects discussed are cloud computing, Web 3.0:
the intelligent semantic web and volunteered geographic informa-
tion, among others.
Verdict
When looking at the intent of the authors, I think this book succeeds
well. Above all, it reads as a good summary of what Esri is doing
in the eld of Web GIS and where they are headed. In fact, theres
so much going on in the geospatial industry that a book like this is
more than welcome, not just as a reference work to see what got us
here in the rst place, but where we are now and where things are
going. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that the whole of soci-
ety has changed since the massive adoption of the internet, and the
GIS world has beneted a lot from this. Looking at the future of Web
GIS, mobile GIS and cloud-based GIS (just to name two interesting
emerging elds) promise interesting new possibilities for Web GIS.
The developments described in the book are just the beginning of a
new era.
What I think is a bit strange is that Esri recommends this book for a
broad audience. If you buy this book and expect lots of technical
details, you will be disappointed since theres hardly any code to
be found here: for instance, examples of XML are scarce. If you want
to read about how to develop Web GIS, this is not the book for you.
Things stay rather on a basic level, which has its advantages and
disadvantages. A good thing is that at the end of each chapter,
theres a list of references for further reading. Judging from the num-
ber of sources, the authors did a very good job when editing this
book. One disadvantage of this book is that the text is a little too
enumerative in character. With no less than 270 different abbrevia-
tions used in 300 pages, one gets a sense of the information densi-
ty of this book.
As a critic on a more general level, this book is for the most part
solely about Esri products and services and therefore biased in that
regard. Although the authors claim that for the examples used here
other vendors can be substituted, Im not too sure about that. One
of the reasons why I think this is because the subject of interoper-
ability and data le formats for instance, is largely ignored here,
and I think it deserves more attention than is given.
In summary, this book covers a lot of ground but does not dig very
deep. As a reference work, I think it does a good job but I think for
future editions it would be better to opt for more attention to either
the principles or the applications.
www.esri.com
52
January/February 2011
By Eric van Rees
Title: Web GIS: Principles and Applications
Authors: Pinde Fu and Jiulin Sun
Amount of pages: 296
Publisher: Esri Press
ISBN: 978-1-58948-245-6
Principles and Applications
Book on Web GIS
B o o k r e v i e w
C
O
L
U
M
N
T
he professional use of LBS is very limited at
the moment, but personally I think its potential
is huge. Think of the police and the re depart-
ment, both of which need information about build-
ings and stored goods, and also the location of
objects indoors (think about a hospital that needs
to track its personnel or equipment).
This brings us to the other aspect of LBS, position-
ing. As professional GI users we know of course
that nding our locations is the simple part. Just
stick a GPS antenna out-
side and, hey presto,
instant positioning. Add to
this the fact that most
smartphones and tablet
computers come with a
GPS receiver built-in (or
as an easy add-on) and
no problem at all. Well,
maybe there are one or
two (small) problems. First
of all, even the best GPS
receivers have a hard
time nding an accurate
position indoors and will
also have a hard time in
a built-up environment.
These are incidentally the
locations where we want
to have our professional LBS working 100%.
So, how to conquer that? If we look at the consumer
market, we can see that most of our usual suppli-
ers are not even represented there; 99% of GPS
receivers sold are so-called OEM (Original
Equipment Manufacturer) chips made by a compa-
ny called SIRF. These are very cheap chipsets with
an amazing sensitivity (ability to receive weak sig-
nals). They are even sensitive enough to receive
GPS signals when not too far indoors. They may
even compute a position to within a few tens of
meters. Good enough for consumers looking for a
point of interest in their immediate neighborhood
but in general of no use to the professional appli-
cations described above (imagine a re truck locat-
ing the wrong warehouse with chemical goods and
ignoring the correct one).
The Big Question
So what about LBS positioning for the professional
user? GPS is not good enough for the critical appli-
cations and there are few professional solutions
available. In the consumer market there are alter-
native positioning meth-
ods available such as
WiFi, Ultra Wide Band
and cellular positioning
giving accuracies from a
few meters to a few tens of
meters indoors (where
available). As an alterna-
tive there are special sys-
tems using RFID or mag-
netic sensors offering
centimeter to decimeter
accuracy to the profes-
sional user. Good for a
hospital but of no use to
the re brigade.
The big question is why
there are no positioning
systems for the professional market that work
indoors and are not dedicated to a specic site. So
far I've not been able to detect any activity from
our main positioning vendors. Is the market to
small? Not specialist enough or is there another
reason? Or is the solution just around the corner
and we do not yet see it coming?
What I predict we will need in the foreseeable
future is something as simple to use as GPS but that
works both indoors and outdoors, and has the abil-
ity to position us in just about every circumstance
to within say two meters. In other words, what we
need is DGPS capability indoors. Please.
What The Market Needs...
Indoor Positioning and GPS
Location based services (LBS) are 'invading' our everyday life. The keywords
in LBS are of course Location and Services. The services part obviously refers
to something one may get 'at a price'. In the consumer market we are talk-
ing about applications like Layar or Google maps. But what about us, pro-
fessional GI users, do we need LBS?
Even the best GPS receivers have
a hard time finding an accurate
position indoors and will also have
a hard time in a built-up
environment.
Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk,
hlekkerkerk@geoinformatics.com,
is process manager and freelance writer
and trainer.
This article reflects his personal opinion.
C o l u mn
53
Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com
January/February 2011
Februari
01-03 February Imagina
Monaco
Internet: www.imagina.mc
07-09 February 11th International LiDAR Mapping
Forum
Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, LA, U.S.A.
Internet: www.lidarmap.org
07-09 February 6th EARSeL Workshop Remote
Sensing of Snow and Glaciers: Cryosphere,
Hydrology and Climate Interactions
University of Bern, Switzerland
Internet: www.earsel.org
07-18 February Water Scarcity Winter School
Analysing, mapping and evaluating spatio-
temporal water scarcity problems
Salzburg, Austria
E-mail: waterscarcity2011@edu-zgis.net
Internet: www.edu-zgis.net
13-19 February 16. Internationale Geodtische
Woche
Obergurgl, Tirol, Austria
Info: Dr. Thomas Weinold
Tel.: +43 (0)512 507 6755 or 6757
Fax: +43 (0)512 507 2910
E-mail: geodaetischewoche@uibk.ac.at
Internet: http://geodaesie.uibk.ac.at
23-24 February Smart Cities
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Internet: www.smartcitiesevent.com
28 February-03 March GIS/CAMA Technologies
Conference
Memphis, TN, U.S.A.
E-mail: wnelson@urisa.org
Internet: www.urisa.org
March
03-04 March W2GIS 2011 Web & Wireless
Geographical Information Systems
Kyoto, Japan
E-mail: jcarswell@dit.ie
Internet: www.w2gis.org
07-10 March Esri Developer Summit
Palm Springs, CA, U.S.A.
Internet: www.esri.com
10-11 March GeoViz Hamburg 2011: Linking
Geovisualization with Spatial Analysis and
Modeling
HafenCity University Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
E-mail: geoviz@geomatik-hamburg.de
Internet: www.geomatik-hamburg.de
15-17 March International Geomatic Week
Barcelona, Spain
Internet: www.globalgeobcn.com
15-18 March GEOFORM+ 2011 - Geodesy,
Cartography, Navigation
EcoCenter Sokolniki, Moscow, Russia
Tel: +7 (495) 925-34-97
Fax: +7 (495) 925-34-97
E-mail: dnJ@mvk.ru
Internet: www.geoexpo.ru
21-23 March Data ow from Space to Earth:
applications and interoperability
Venice, Italy
E-mail: dezorzi@corila.it
Internet: www.space.corila.it
21-24 March SPAR US 2011 Conference
Houston, TX, U.S.A
Tel: +1 (207) 842 5671
E-mail: tgreaves@divcom.com
Internet: www.sparllc.com
23-25 March 1st Conference on Spatial Statistics
2011 Mapping Global Change
University of Twente, Enschede,
The Netherlands
Internet: www.spatialstatisticsconference.com
28-31 March CalGIS 2011 - 17th Annual California
GIS Conference
Fresno, CA, U.S.A.
Internet: www.calgis.org
29-30 March 10th International 3D Forum Lindau
Lindau, Germany
E-mail: a.lindenmueller@sw-lindau.de
Internet: www.3d-forum.li
30 March GeoDATA 2011
London, U.K.
Internet: www.geoinformationgroup.co.uk
30-31 March Enterprise Strategies for Location
Intelligence
The Wyndham, Chicago, U.S.A.
Tel.: +44 (0) 2027 375 7513
E-mail: naomi@thewherebusiness.com
Internet: www.thewherebusiness.com
April
05 April GeoDATA 2011
Birmingham, U.K.
Internet: www.geoinformationgroup.co.uk
05-07 April Ocean Business 2011 - The ocean
technology training and procurement forum
Southampton, U.K.
Internet: www.oceanbusiness.com or www.lidarmap.or
06-07 April Offshore Survey 2011 - Technical
Conference
Southampton, U.K.
Internet: www.offshoresurvey.co.uk
06-07 April GEO-11 A World of Geomatics With
GIS Innovations
Holiday Inn, London Elstree, U.K.
E-mail: sharon@pvpubs.demon.co.uk
07 April GeoDATA 2011
Leeds, U.K.
Internet: www.geoinformationgroup.co.uk
10-14 April GITAs 2011 Geospatial Solutions
Conference
Grapevine (Dallas), TX, U.S.A.
Internet: www.gitaservices.org
10-15 April 34th International Symposium on
Remote Sensing of Environment
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney,
Australia
Internet: www.isrse34.org
11-13 April JURSE 2011 - Joint Urban Remote
Sensing Event
Munich, Germany
E-mail: jurse2011@bv.tum.de
Internet: www.jurse2011.tum.de
11-13 April EARSeL 7th Workshop of EARSeL
Special Interest Group Imaging Spectroscopy
University of Edinburgh, U.K.
Internet: www.earsel2011.com
12-16 April Association of America Geographers
2011 Annual Meeting
Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
E-mail: meeting@aag.org
Internet: www.aag.org
12-16 April Symposium on Space-Time Integration
in GIS and GIScience
Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
E-mail: meeting@aag.org
Internet: www.aag.org
13-15 April V Anniversary International
Conference Remote Sensing the Synergy of
High Technologies
ATLAS PARK-HOTEL, Moscow, Russia
Internet: http://sovzondconference.ru
18-21 April 14th AGILE International Conference
on Geographic Information Science
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Internet: www.uu.nl
25-29 April SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing
2011
Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention
Center, Orlando, FL, U.S.A.
E-mail: alr@spie.org or hermann@spieeurope.org
Internet: www.spie.org
27-29 April GEO-Siberia 2011
Novosibirsk, ITE Siberian Fair, Russia
E-mail: Nenasheva@sibfair.ru or
argina.novitskaya@gmail.com
Internet: www.geosiberia.sibfair.ru/eng
May
01-05 May ASPRS 2011 Annual Conference
Midwest Airlines Center/Hyatt Hotel, Milwaukee, WI,
U.S.A.
Internet: www.asprs.org
03-08 May Gi4DM-GeoInformation for Disaster
Management
Antalya, Turkey
E-mail: gi4dm@gur.net
Internet: www.gi4dm2011.org
09-11 May Global Space and Satellite Forum
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
E-mail: holly@smg-online.com
Internet: www.smg-online.com
Please feel free to e-mail your calendar notices to:calendar@geoinformatics.com
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