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3D visualization trends are starting to mature, which is really exciting!

Apr 2021 | No Comment

James van Rens

Strategic Advisor RIEGL Group / Government & Industry Relations.

In the present challenging times, how has RIEGL adapted itself and have also come out with technology solutions for its customers especially ‘operating remotely’?

RIEGL is committed to ensure our customers’ needs are met. While our company as a whole has adapted to what is now our present normal, RIEGL’s commitment to our customers has not changed. Many of our surveying and mapping customers are deemed essential workers and need to have our support along with our continued development of new tools for them to utilize. Whether our customers are working remotely or in the field, RIEGL continues to be available to support their work. In addition to this, numerous events quickly became virtual and with that, RIEGL quickly adapted. For example, INTERGEO was virtual this past year and even in these unprecedented times, RIEGL was able to introduce several new products to the market.

The products introduced included the RIEGL VQ-1560 II-S Dual Channel Waveform Processing Airborne Scanning System for ultra-wide area mapping, the RIEGL VPX-1 Helicopter Pod, the RIEGL VUX-120 LiDAR Sensor for Heli and UAV, and the RIEGL miniVUX-3UAV LiDAR Sensor. Introducing new products during unprecedented times further establishes RIEGL’s unweathering commitment to assisting current and new customers in their work. Furthermore, RIEGL held our own “Virtual Distributor Day” which was a resounding success as it allowed us to reach deeper into our distribution network in order to introduce and communicate on new software and products.

RIEGL also undertook expansion projects globally. We are determined to meet the requirements of customers and this important undertaking to expand demonstrates our resolve to assist in each customer’s success. RIEGL opened offices in numerous parts of the globe and added additional distribution partners. To elaborate, RIEGL has had building projects in Austria and the United States. In Horn, Austria, a unique 300-meter indoor test-range for our systems is nearing completion.

This is an important resource to be able to meet the quality and precision expectations of our customers. A state-of-the-art printed circuit board (PCB) and instrument assembly building will open soon. This all follows on the heels of a new facility for mobile systems in 2019. All of this will expand RIEGL’s production capability to meet the growing demand for high-speed, high- Performance LiDAR. In the United States, RIEGL USA has moved into our new North American Headquarters in Winter Garden, Florida.

This provides RIEGL customers in this hemisphere with an important resource for repairs, support, calibration fields, as well as new sales and administration offices.

How do you see the evolution of 3-D visualization technologies and what has been the contribution of LIDAR in the same?

3D visualization has been around for a while, but the trends are starting to mature which is really exciting. The nexus of virtual (augmented) reality, real-time rendering, and cloud computing are providing real power to the revolution of Digital Twins. Virtual reality is an important collaboration tool for design and planning. This helps to visualize projects and projecting them onto tabletops, computers, or even field handheld devices. Real-time rendering supports and improves the virtual reality experience; however, it needs further development to lower costs so its expansion into commercial applications can begin.

Cloud computing is an important element to be able to access the data from anywhere and on any platform, but most importantly in real-time to support information at the point of work. Two of the big geospatial players, ESRI and AUTODESK, have collaborated to provide a smooth integration of ArcGIS and Revit.

A primary benefit is the ability to access data quickly and easily from multiples sources whether they are Computer Aided Design (CAD) models or imagery, LiDAR scans from anywhere. Cloud storage of data for instant access, data management for proper order, visualization and sharing for effective collaboration are some of the many benefits.

All of this is extremely exciting but what does this have to do with LiDAR? Well, for these trends to be successful and have faster adoption, high fidelity image information is critical. The reason this information is critical is because high fidelity LiDAR systems with advanced image sensors allow the algorithms to see the assets.

What is the importance of hyper spectral imaging and the data thus created in the protection and preservation of historically important buildings and structures?

In the field of surveying and mapping, one of the most important steps are the correct identification of surfaces not only in the natural world, but also the built world.

Sometimes we describe this as classification. The addition of multi and hyperspectral systems allows for more correct identification of the building materials, impact of weathering and, of course, the correct geometry of the structure as provided by the LiDAR. The integration of hyperspectral imaging with LiDAR allows for more information from a wider spectrum rather than only the traditional primary colors. This important step has many applications and implications. This technique provides the ability to discern subtle differences rather than an educated guess. The imaging systems still need to mature and grow in order to foster more widespread use.

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