February 11-13, 2024  |  Colorado Convention Center   |  Denver, CO, USA

Session Details


Unique Case Studies

Feb 14 2023

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM MT

Exhibit Hall Theater

How is lidar being used in unique, innovative, and forward-thinking ways? This fast-paced session will showcase some of the most interesting and sometimes category-defying applications of lidar and reality capture, coming from places you might not expect, and at scales that we have not seen before. Don’t miss this session if you want to be inspired and hear about some truly unique projects.

Moderated by Sanjay Shenoy, Nowak & Fraus Engineers

The Role of Drones and Lidar in Digital Twin Creation – Advantages and Obstacles – Selma Heritage Case Study

On March 25, 1965, Martin Luther King (MLK) led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capital in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama where residents had been campaigning for voting rights. MLK began the march in Selma due to only 2% of African Americans were on voting rolls despite numerous repeated registration attempts. The National Park Service (NPS) purchases three buildings adjacent to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. HDR was tasked with providing updated floor plans and documenting as-is conditions of 3 buildings and a courtyard owned by the NPS. Inspecting and documenting buildings (rooftops, interior rooms) and appurtenant structures have various challenges including access to the roof, obtaining accurate measurements of observed deficiencies, and documenting findings accurately so the information can be used during the assessments. Due to the deteriorating nature of the roofs and 2 of the building structures, numerous survey technologies were necessary to capture the complete spatial coverage of the roof, exterior facades and interior rooms. HDR utilized survey control, Trimble X7 lidar system and an RTK drone. We will discuss why the survey technologies were selected, how they were leveraged, and review the final results which included a digital twin, updated floor plans and web-based tools for inspecting the buildings. We will also cover advantages and obstacles encountered during the survey and the overall benefits of the digital twin and future plans. Combining a Digital Twin with Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML), we were able to utilize AI/ML to detect anomalies such as cracks and spalls. These results from the lidar and drone developed model assisted the inspection team by allowing them to focus their follow-up inspection efforts on features determined to be high priority. By leveraging survey, lidar and drones together, we were able to perform a far superior assessment of the buildings in comparison to only one method being used. 

Carlos Femmer, HDR Engineering, Inc.

How Does Lidar Data Help Us Understand the Landscape History of Monticello from the Mid-18th Century to Today?

Clearly, the most recent alterations to the landscape are the most visible, but we also see glimpses of land divisions and use of space from the mid 19th century as shown by the Mann survey plat of TJF lands done circa 1925 that shows the various landholders of Monticello Mountain c. 1840 or so and seeing the various berms that denote property lines as well as the orchards rows. Teasing out the Jefferson era landscape is harder to do since subsequent changes have obscured the 18th and early 19th century features, but roads and sometimes field boundaries are most easily identified. Jefferson era land practices have helped obscure these features by burying them in sediment eroding from tilled fields!

Brad Barker, Surdex Corporation


Peeling Back the Lowcountry of South Carolina with Lidar

Drayton Hall is an 18th century plantation located in the Ashley River Historic Corridor of Charleston, SC that serves as the only estate on the Ashley River that survived the Civil War. This well-preserved and authentic 600+ acre estate once produced rice and indigo cultivated by slave labor, with hundreds of slaves living on the property throughout the 18th and mid-19th century. After the Civil War, many former slaves remained on the property and in the area to continue agricultural practices, as well as phosphate mining and other industrial trades that became popular at the turn of the century. In order to better understand how the land was used and occupied during this time, The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust decided to use remote sensing and GIS methods to determine areas that contained historical and cultural evidence of significant prior activity. Drayton Hall collaborated with GPI Geospatial, Inc. to acquire high density aerial lidar and high resolution aerial imagery to support their research. GPI combined high density aerial lidar with photogrammetric feature extraction to produce DTMs, topographic mapping data, and orthophotography that have revealed evidence of historical human activity, such as foot trails and building pads, phosphate mining scars, African American cemeteries, and other unique natural and man-made features. Overall, this significant geospatial data has ultimately improved the understanding of the cultural and natural resources in this area.

Jonathan Byham, GPI Geospatial, Inc.

UAS Lidar and Imagery to Support Mapping and Restoration of Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Southern California

Overwintering monarch butterflies seek well-lit, but wind sheltered microsites within forest groves on the immediate California Coast where it rarely freezes. These groves require management in the face of normal forest dynamics, drought mortality, and development pressure. These forest groves can be very complex and difficult to access, much less analyze, through traditional field surveys. Wind and light conditions up to 15m above the ground often dictate the micro habitat suitability. High resolution 3D mapping allows for detailed measurements to be taken throughout the canopy to both assess current suitability and guide restoration efforts. This presentation will demonstrate the utility of high resolution UAS lidar and imagery combined with advanced analyses to support monarch habitat assessment and restoration in Southern CA. The specific components discussed in this presentation will include: 1) Data acquisition specifications, 2) Individual tree segmentation in complex Eucalyptus forests, 3) Snag detection, 4) Downed wood quantification, and 5) Simulation of hemispherical imagery allowing for direct application of traditional ground-based suitability assessment methods. Each of these components will inform restoration activities focused on fuel reduction, spatially explicit drought stress, and optimization of wind and solar exposure conditions in the mid to upper canopy.

Mischa Hey, NV5 Geospatial

Utilizing Laser Scanner and Drone Geotechnical Data Capture to Manage Visitor Safety at Buchan Caves

Several of the best limestone cave formations in Victoria, Australia are found in the Buchan Caves Reserve. When cave ceilings, walls and floors fail, the process is referred to as cave breakdown. The existing Buchan Caves network has developed from the accumulation of ongoing breakdown events across geological timescales. Many of the geomorphic processes that contribute to cave breakdown remain active, and the likelihood of breakdown events within engineering-timescales poses a risk to visitors. A combination of a Maptek SR3 underground terrestrial laser scanning and above-ground drone photogrammetry was used to capture the 3D spatial relationship between the cave system and ground surface terrain for accurate mapping and visualization. A high level of detail provides baseline data for ongoing operational-phase monitoring of settlement and deformation, as well as rock-structure characteristics for the geotechnical design of ground support. The data also enables the identification and management of cavern breakdown, allowing local government to effectively manage visitor safety in the Buchan Caves. Ongoing laser scanning and topographical drone surveys of the area will allow stakeholders to conduct continual comparison through centralized access to data, which is preserved and visualized in a web-based geospatial management solution.

Jason Richards, Maptek Pty Ltd

Belgian Church Spire Scanned by a Riegl Scanner

The Sint-Jan-De Doperkerk Church in Belgium recently retained LSBbvba to perform a 3D scan on the inside and outside of its historic chapel spire. The aim of this project is to capture data necessary for a renovation of the tower spire. Detailed façade plans and heights within the tower were needed regarding the stairs and bell levels, especially since parts of the spire were rotted and not safe for contractors to step through for observation.

Lieven Beuckx, LSBbvba


Nowak & Fraus Engineers

HDR Engineering, Inc.

Surdex Corporation


GPI Geospatial, Inc.

NV5 Geospatial

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