Leica Geosystems has released new features for its high-end LIDAR system, the ALS40 Airborne Laser Scanner. The ALS40 now offers multi-mode operation, 1-3 return intensity with automatic gain control (AGC), as well as 38 kHz pulse rate at 100% duty cycle flying at 2 km, and up to 50 kHz below 1.5 km. The new capabilities allow users to collect highly detailed LIDAR data, tailor the system's operations mid-flight, respond to higher variations in altitude and signal strength, and decrease data storage requirements and processing time.

The Leica ALS40 has the widest field of view (75 degrees) and highest altitude (6100 m above ground) capability of any LIDAR system available and is the first commercially available LIDAR system whose range and intensity settings can be altered midflight, on a flightline by flightline basis. "We listened to our customers and built the most intuitive and accurate system for the working environment," stated Doug Flint, Director, LIDAR, Leica Geosystems. Flint continued, "With the ALS40's flexibility to switch modes midflight, users stand to save a tremendous amount of storage and processing costs by collecting exactly the level of detail necessary for each flightline."

For customers who cover rugged and/or densely featured terrain, the ALS40's 38-50 kHz pulse rates offer higher forest canopy penetration, a more precise set of data and the ability to determine the sizes and locations of smaller objects on the ground. Providing up to 3 amplitudes and 3 ranges with AGC gain digitized, the ALS40 exceeds the dynamic range of systems that do not use AGC by almost 4 additional bits, for data collection at a greater variety of flying heights. Complementing the RC30 aerial film camera and ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor, the ALS40 offers Leica Geosystems customers a third technology for cost-effective airborne data acquisition.