Sanborn joins Z/I imaging, Optech, EnerQuest and Leica to help develop lidar processing tools.

Sanborn, a geographic information system (GIS) and photogrammetry industry leader, has joined forces with Z/I Imaging Corporation, Optech Inc., EnerQuest Systems LLC, Leica Geosystems and the US Army’s Topographic Engineering Center to help develop lidar processing tools which support the open industry standard format and promote the exchange of lidar (light detection and ranging) data.

Lidar, which consists of shooting laser light from an aircraft to measure distance to the ground, emerged a few years ago as a faster and more effective way to gather Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data. Due to the industry’s infancy, however, a standard format for the exchange of data does not exist. Companies either use a generic ASCII file, which, among other things, can be problematic due to its large size, or they use a proprietary system whereby data cannot easily be transferred from one system to another. Sanborn and the development team recognize the need for a common format, and hope that easy-to-use lidar software packages will improve data exchange for vendors and customers alike.