How to Select a Lidar System for UAV Operations


How to Select a Lidar System for UAV Operations

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Regulatory changes allowing for the commercial operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the national air space are driving a rapid increase in the use of such platforms for survey and mapping applications. The increasing availability of off-the-shelf UAV platforms at prices that are affordable for survey firms allows for the profitable deployment of UAVs on small projects or at an increased frequency than would be achievable or cost-effective using traditional manned platforms. This discussion will highlight what sort of considerations that users and organizations need to consider when making these decisions.


Martin Flood
Vice President, Special Projects, GeoCue

Mr. Flood is currently the Vice President, Special Projects for GeoCue Group, Inc., a technology development and consulting services company dedicated to creating hardware and software tools for improving geospatial data production processes. Martin’s primary focus is on UAV payload development and the related data processing workflow optimization for organizations working with new UAV sensor technologies such as lidar. He also works with GeoCue Group’s enterprise consulting group to deploy cloud-hosted data management solutions built using GeoCue’s Earth Sensor Portal web publishing technology. Martin began his career in 1991 working on lidar sensor hardware development at Optech, Inc. and was involved in the development of the first commercial airborne lidar terrain mapping systems released by Optech in 1995. He has also held senior management positions at several commercial lidar production firms. He is a member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and a past Chair of the ASPRS Lidar Technical Committee. He currently serves on the ILMF Advisory Board. Martin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo and his M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Western Ontario. He has over 25 years’ experience in the design and construction of advanced laser systems and optimizing data processing workflows for remote sensing applications.

Scott Harrigan
Owner/President, Harkin Aerial

Scott Harrigan is the Owner and Chief Pilot at Harkin Aerial. A mechanical engineer by trade, Scott first started in the industry as an junior MEP engineer at Nelson & Pope on Long Island, when he completed drafting and design for various energy and transportation infrastructure projects in NYC, Nassau, and Suffolk County. At that time, he was also introduced to drone technology by friends in filmmaking. Years later, after seeing the incredible benefits drones could provide by accessing dangerous locations, Scott founded Harkin Aerial. At Harkin, he works to assist engineering, construction, and architecture firms by providing data collection and consulting services using drones. In addition to his role at Harkin, Scott currently serves as a 2nd Lieutenant and Aerospace Education Officer with the Long Island Group of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, where he utilizes drones to fulfill CAP’s Aerospace Education and Search & Rescue directives. Scott is also an active member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), as well as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Scott holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Binghamton University.

Mary Wohnrade
Owner/President, Wohnrade Civil Engineering

Mary Wohnrade is a licensed professional civil engineer in multiple states including Colorado, Illinois, and Nevada. She has performed the complete site engineering design for roughly 200 residential and commercial land development projects in six (6) states. Mary utilizes the latest in civil engineering software, including Civil 3D 2015, and employs low impact design (LID), and LEED practices. She has embraced unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) mapping technologies and currently supports both high-resolution imagery and Lidar data collection services, which directly supports their civil engineering project work. Mary is recognized as a leader in UAS mapping in Colorado and in 2017, she was named a “Women to Watch in UAS” by Drone360 magazine and the Women and Drones organization.

Brendan Thompson
Managing Partner, Wohnrade Civil Engineers

Brendan started the drone integration program at Wohnrade Civil Engineers in 2015. With the initial intention of purchasing a drone for marketing purposes, R&D efforts quickly made topographic mapping possible to offer as a service and streamline in-house engineering workflows. Brendan has been instrumental in the successful completion of countless UAS mapping projects since starting with WCE in 2015. Brendan also assumes the responsibility of Pilot-in-Command for Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations. UAS projects include the collection and processing of precision geospatial data using surveyed ground control points, and preparation of a digital terrain model for use in civil engineering design. Duties also include the implementation of operational, cybersecurity, and safety procedures for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), which conform to FAA Part 107 rules and regulations.


Danielle Gagne
Editorial Analyst

Danielle comes to us from an editorial background in higher education publishing where she edited books on every topic from financial risk management to nanotechnology and morphing wing technology. During that time, she reported and conveyed the business needs and expectations between all points of her organization and the technology team, working closely with IT development. This skillset led her to Diversified Communications and the commercial UAV industry, where she is excited to be able continue to report important technology news and developments to a wider audience.

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