Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Real-Time Vehicle Trajectory

Our fleet of 4 Mobile LiDAR systems are nearly always on the move, and can be anywhere in the United States or internationally on any given day. With daily fleet activities averaging over 300 miles per day nationwide, resulting in nearly 7,000 miles of collections in the past 4 months, efficient productivity tracking and reporting is easier said than done.

Capitalizing on the previously un-tapped wealth of data produced by our field operations, our fleet logistics/tracking team developed a real-time solution to harness data from the on-board Positioning Orientation System (POS) to create a Real-Time Vehicle Trajectory (RTVT) solution. The single file summarizes each vehicle’s collections and correlates the systems’ position, GPS solution, attitude (pitch, roll, heading), and velocity at 1 second intervals for each sensor and camera initialization. Designed for transportability, an RTVT can be transmitted to our tracking team within seconds after collection, and enable near-real-time loading to interactive project maps and daily status reports.

The design of the RTVT not only supports our real-time production tracking needs, but also the needs of our daily mission planning operations as well. To effectively leverage the power of the individual RTVT files, the tracking team customized existing navigation software to thematically display RTVT’s that render user-friendly visual-cues that have ultimately increased daily production while decreasing costly “go-backs” and recollections.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Throwback Thursday

Throwback to the December 1957 edition of Photogrammetric Engineering Journal.  Although we’ve grown out of our original digs in Rochester, PA and Jackson, MS, these offices live on with our Mobile LiDAR team in neighboring Moon Township, PA and Ridgeland, MS respectively.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mobile LiDAR and the Smart City

Lately we’ve been considering our Mobile LiDAR Data activities under a different light so to speak. In a word, LiDAR. We get to see our world quite differently through the vast amounts of LiDAR and
imagery we collect performing very large urban projects. I was recently at the DistribuTECH 2018 conference to better understand how utilities with electric and/or broadband services are considering and reacting to technological, economic and societal implications of a Smart City.

Development of a Smart City affects nearly all systems comprising a City’s infrastructure. An electric grid’s smart meter system and grid improvements are fully functional with 5G capabilities. Fiber and wireless networks are implemented to carry present and future data from many connected-systems. Smart technology enables real-time diagnostics and management of: utilities; aviation, automotive, commuter rail and other vessels or vehicles comprising intelligent transportation systems; and government facilities and services, health services and activities, and first responder functions. Entertainment and recreation services, domicile and commercial facilities, and consumer-driven information demands are all connected.  Web-browsing, texts, voice, machine data, automatous things, and pictures or video are transmitted at speeds of 1Gbps to 10Gbps or more with 5G.

Many Smart City displays were at DistribuTECH 2018. The photo of an AT&T kiosk shows a 3D city-street model with conceptual graphic trajectories of many smart devices communicating wirelessly to their antennas. This sort of 3D analysis is necessary for wireless propagation modeling for placing microcell and small antennas. Mobile LiDAR is a perfect solution for data needed in 3D modeling and analysis, and for preparation of design, construction and permitting data.

Michael Baker extracts many forms of utility and roadway network details from our LiDAR point clouds and exports data directly into utility pole analysis, as well as various CAD, GIS and Asset Management applications. We also collect and model aerial electrical distribution and meter services. We measure anything attached to the pole or visible on the ground like road and sidewalk conditions, curbs and gutters, signage or pavement markings, or other visible utilities in the right-of-way. This data is used in planning and designing the many networks to serve a community.

Stopping to overlook our Bay Area collection.
Michael Baker’s Mobile LiDAR vehicles have recently collected over 7,000 miles of roadway corridor covering nearly 3.5 Million metropolitan residents in the largest cities across the United States. Terrestrial-mobile LiDAR and spherical imagery is used to update maps, GIS data and 3D models to understand a city’s in situ conditions to support design and construction permitting. However, the same data can be used for a multitude of other societal purposes such as the implementation of complete streets, local transit planning, ADA compliance or similar programs.

Ultimately the collected LiDAR data helps serve a community with improved utility networks and other infrastructure. By using LiDAR, cities are creating better, safer, healthier communities in which to live and work. Better planning, design and construction is a great outcome. It’s smart, too.