Geiger-mode lidar data is getting a lot of press lately as the “next big thing” in airborne data collection. Unlike traditional lidar sensors, which we will call “linear-mode lidar” for convenience, Geiger-mode sensors use a different detection method in the receiver – the “Geiger-Mode” part – to enable much higher data collection altitudes and higher resolutions than traditional sensors. Harris Corporation has been providing Geiger-mode lidar data to various US government agencies to validate the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of this technique for mapping applications. If you are interested in the technical aspects of what makes Geiger-mode different, there were several excellent papers on the technology at this year’s ILMF conference.
With the growing availability of Geiger-mode data sets, we decided we wanted to look at the data in the context of software tools and workflows. We wanted to verify that data from a Geiger-mode system will work seamlessly with your current tools and techniques. To assist us in this review, Harris provided us with a copy of sample Geiger-mode lidar data and we ran it through a typical production and exploitation workflow. Our primary objective was to establish that Geiger-mode LIDAR data can be ingested into existing workflows and software tools by users without difficulty. A secondary objective was to compare the Geiger-mode data, in this example collected from 17,000 feet, to a traditional linear LIDAR data set collected at 1,700 feet.
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