I work for a soil conservation district in Michigan.  We could use a way to make LiDAR maps for conservation planning software.  It's pretty expensive to get those shoots done, and we would end up with a ton of data we don't need.  Anybody have thoughts on who might have small UAV based LiDAR systems in the pipe, either for sale or available to do some shooting for us?  I am also very interested in the topic of remote senseing, especially near IR for crop scouting and tile line location.  Small, cheep and easy to use would be best of course ;<)  Your thoughts are welcome.

Mark Ludwig

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Are there instances where you can use Photogrammetry instead of LiDAR?

It is more cost effective and easier to implement, I agree with your thoughts on a viable LiDAR platform however

Please view the following video I made on Photogrammetry, for a bit of an overview.


Hi Tim, great project!

Could you please explain a bit more about creating the, 'Depth map' (at 2:50 in your vid) using software like Meshlab or Cloud Compare for example?

Also, SAAB has some amazing software, I was particularly interested in their "Line of sight calculation" which you can see here:

Any Ideas on how to replicate this feature using freeware programs?

Thanks in advance Chris

Hi All,

I have started a new company aimed at bringing small UAV based LIDAR to market.

We have gone through initial flight tests and are working to streamline the process as well as develop a purpose built aircraft for LIDAR scanning and mapping.

Keep an eye on us for our progress.


Hi Andy

What is the status of this very important effort?



Thanks for your interest in our project !

We are working hard to get a complete system airborne very soon.

Our new octo has been designed, manufactured and assembled.

Maiden flight proved it to be a fantastic platform.

Now pushing the aircraft and testing different conditions as well as perfecting our sensor payload.

I will come back and get some video up very soon !

Hey Mark,

I know probably this is out of date, but Phoenix A.S. (CA based) just launched the smallest LIDAR in the market, intended for the task you are asking for. It can also be mounted at the top of roof of a truck or so. The cost is about USD 8.000/u. I do not know if it does include any software or not.



Hi Mark,

As others mentioned, be sure to consider the currently overly restrictive regulatory environment.

That aside, the most affordable airborne laser scanning LiDAR systems - none of which are cheap - are the Hokuyo, Velodyne and YellowScan systems. Of these, only the YellowScan is designed for mapping vegetation. For cheap IR imagery (e.g., NDVI), why not modify a RaspiCam. Much better performance can be had at a higher price, as uncalibrated spectral bands with poor spectral resolution and bleeding may not be very useful.

Adam Erickson
Co-founder, Luft Aerospace
Ph.D. Candidate
Integrated Remote Sensing Studio
and UBC Unmanned Aircraft Systems
University of British Columbia


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