Emerging Uses for LiDAR: Part Two
This is the second in a two-part series exploring advances in LiDAR. This week we look at a startup helping cities maintain effectiveness and efficiency and a company that created a free mobile LiDAR app. Check out the first part in the series here.
Assisting Cities in Economic Growth
CityScan, Inc., a new venture-backed start up out of Chicago, Illinois, has created a revolutionary new solution for cities and utilities to control their assets and maintain compliance with government ordinances. CityScan uses LiDAR technology to assist cities in resolving workload issues that far exceed the funding needed to maintain effectiveness and efficiency. The goal is to help cities grow economically by providing data-guided advice to help enhance the quality and security of the services offered to city residents.
“CityScan uses LiDAR to collect a perfect 3D rendering of the world, that is accurate and measurable down to a few centimeters,” said Orlando Saez, Chief Operating Officer of CityScan, Inc. “We use that huge dataset of images and the LiDAR point cloud to then extract different classes of assets, for example: streetlights, utility poles, construction equipment, signage, road conditions, traffic lights, etc. We are able to take this perfectly GPS located data and provide clean integration into any GIS system.”
As the company learned of the absences of timely and precise data throughout city sectors, it quickly realized the vast number of potential applications for CityScan.
“CityScan’s secret sauce is to take LiDAR and image data to post-process and extract features that cities and utility companies care about,” said Saez. “The extracted assets are actually tied or uploaded into an existing GIS or mapping system. We simply provide a timely, more accurate and more comprehensive set of data to feed into those systems and make them smarter and more accurate.”
CityScan recently finished a pilot project for the City of Philadelphia that compared permit systems, street markings, market data and business zoning restrictions. Based on company assessments, CityScan was able to provide the City of Philadelphia with an accurate report of where they were losing revenue and which areas were overdue for inspections.
“We were able to accomplish in days what would have taken months to be done manually and our way was more accurate,” said Saez. “We learned that over 80% of the billboards in Philadelphia violated at least one zoning law and that the billboards were under reporting their signs, resulting in significant lost revenue to the City.”
According to Saez, the City of Philadelphia was thrilled with the results of the pilot project and plans to continue its relationship with CityScan
“We are exploring the possibility of a citywide scan, both for full billboard enforcement, as well as a blighted area assessment,” said Saez. “We applied to the FastFwd Philly accelerator and hope to expand our relationship with the City.”
Connecting Professionals in the Field
OGSystems, a provider of information technology and business consulting services, created LiMo, a free mobile LiDAR app for iOS and Android-enabled devices. The app allows users to observe, manage, and evaluate 3D data from a point cloud, without requiring the usual desktop or server resources. LiMo was created specifically for scientists and mapping professionals who require the accurateness and flexibility of LiDAR to examine various environments.
According to the product’s description, “LiMo brings LiDAR data directly to the hands of the user, including disconnected users in the field. It’s a lightweight mobile application deployed to an edge device that facilitates LiDAR viewing, data manipulation and analysis without desktop and server resources.”
As data is gathered and managed in the field, LiMo provides users with the ability to monitor and mine data in real-time. The app is available for devices running on iOS 6 or higher and Android 4.01 or higher.
According to OGSystem’s website, “Future versions of LiMo will support streaming data files that have been compressed into a streaming friendly proprietary data format optimized for visualization. End-Users will also have the option to upload their own data files for processing by the LiMo Server. The LiMo Server will then make all the information available for viewing on LiMo.”