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KBM, Inc. Expands Aerial Mapping Services Using Leica Technology

July 22, 2014
KEYWORDS Leica / LiDAR / mapping / scanner
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Cities, counties and electric utilities in North Dakota and throughout the U.S. have a new resource for cost-effective LiDAR data and high-point-density corridor mapping as a result of KBM, Inc.‘s recent purchase of a Leica ALS70-CM aerial laser scanner and RCD30 digital camera. KBM is the first company in North Dakota to offer this combination of services.

KBM, a consulting engineering and aerial photogrammetric mapping firm based in Grand Forks, ND, provides high-quality digital color aerial photography, digital orthophotography, and digital photogrammetric mapping and terrain modeling for a wide range of applications. Seeing the need for increasingly detailed, highly accurate data for vegetation studies, transmission line mapping and other projects, the company sought a solution that would easily fit into its existing workflows and was compact enough to be used on a fixed-wing aircraft.

KBM Using Leica
The high-point density of the ALS70-CM enables KBM to capture the detail on power lines from its Cessna 310 aircraft.

“The Leica ALS70-CM aerial laser scanner with the RCD30 digital camera was the ideal fit because it gave us the ability to collect ultrahigh-density LiDAR data along with co-registered multispectral imagery from a small fixed-wing platform,” said Terry Keeton, CP, president of KBM. “We can get the high accuracies and point densities our clients need, and we can capture in color infrared for detailed vegetation mapping, which utilities require for compliance with the NERC Reliability Standards.”

The ALS70-CM is an ultrahigh-density, low-profile scanner designed for city and corridor mapping applications with lower flying height requirements. The Leica RCD30, a digital follow-on to the popular Leica RC30 film cameras, is a medium-format digital imaging system with a 60-MP single-camera-head design that delivers co-registered multispectral imagery in the red, green, blue and near IR portions of the spectrum. The sleek, modular design allows the camera to fit easily in aircraft previously outfitted with film cameras, and it integrates with many LiDAR sensors, including the Leica ALS series. Both the Leica ALS70 and Leica RCD30 sensors permit flying in less than ideal conditions and collecting large volumes of data quickly and accurately.

“We can now collect highly accurate, detailed data on both small and large projects quickly and cost-effectively, with the ability to go back to the dataset and continue to mine from it as needed,” said Keeton. “It’s a significant benefit for us and our clients.”

Shawn Slade, who handles sales of aerial digital cameras and LiDAR systems for Leica Geospatial Solutions, said he is thrilled to see KBM pursuing new opportunities as a result of their investment. “KBM is an innovative firm with a solid reputation for providing high-quality mapping,” he said. “I have enjoyed working closely with Terry and his team to help them achieve a smooth integration of their airborne LiDAR and digital camera system, and I look forward to a long business relationship between Leica Geosystems and KBM, Inc.”

 For more information about airborne sensor solutions, visit

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