A leading North American data collection and survey services company hopes it will help transform the bathymetric LiDAR market with the acquisition of an innovation solution from Leica Geosystems Inc. and sister company Airborne Hydrography AB.


CHIROPTERA II LiDAR Solution for Topographic Mapping

Sample imagery collected with the CHIROPTERA II off the coast of Florida. (Photo courtesy Geomatics Data Solutions)

As announced this week at the International LiDAR Mapping Forum in Denver, Colo., Geomatics Data Solutions has purchased the CHIROPTERA II, a LiDAR solution for topographic mapping and shallow water surveying in depths of up to 50 feet. The investment, says Geomatics Data Solutions, creates new opportunities for company clients seeking to benefit from reliable, dense and highly accurate LiDAR data in projects such as environmental and coastal monitoring, infrastructure planning, oil and gas exploration, and other near-shore applications.  

“Earlier bathymetric LiDAR sensors were primarily research systems and tended to be unreliable,” explained Geomatics Data Solutions, Inc. owner and hydropher Carol Lockhart. “Additionally, high data densities were difficult to achieve beyond a certain depth, so there was often a gap between LiDAR and acoustic data.” A woman-owned small business that specializes in providing data acquisition and processing services for marine and coastal environments, Geomatics Data Solutions has an extensive track record of collecting, processing and analyzing LiDAR bathymetry and multibeam data, as well as cable route charting.

CHIROPTERA II simultaneously captures the full waveform in both the 35 kHz bathymetric channel and the 500 kHz topographic channel to provide high-detail maps. The latest version incorporates the industry-leading 80-megapixel four-band Leica RCD30 medium-format camera, NovAtel SPAN GNSS-IMU subsystem, Leica MissionPro mission planning software and Leica FlightPro flight navigation software. The scanner package allows installation in the Leica PAV100 stabilized mount, providing ideal stabilization and reducing the number of flight lines needed, especially in turbulent weather.

“The CHIROPTERA II is a much more mature sensor. It’s both stable and reliable,” said Lockhart, “and the algorithms for picking the depth, and developing the intensity and being able to extract data from turbid waters and darker seabeds are much more advanced. As a result, it provides a much more efficient and effective way to capture bathymetric data.” The high-density data reveals small objects underwater, as well as fine details of breakwaters and jetties, she said. The system also has the ability to automatically distinguish between land and water. “When you’re crossing from land to water on every single line, that capability saves a lot of time in processing and improves the accuracy of the data.”

Lockhart is already seeing an increase in demand for bathymetric LiDAR because of these innovations and expects this trend to continue. She, along with Anders Ekelund of Airborne Hydrography AB, will present the webinar “Bathymetric LiDAR: How Better Data is Opening New Markets” on Tuesday, March 24 at 2 p.m. ET. Register now for the webinar.

“With their commitment to innovation, extensive expertise and reputation for exceeding client expectations, Geomatics Data Solutions is well positioned to serve the bathymetric LiDAR market,” said Ron Roth, Product Manager - Airborne LiDAR for Leica Geosystems’ Geospatial Solutions Division. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Lockhart and her team as they move the industry forward.”   


Geomatics Data Solutions, Inc.

With more than 50 years of combined experience developing spatial work flows and processing marine and terrestrial survey data, Geomatics Data Solutions provides high-quality data collection, processing and consultant survey services for three main business lines: LiDAR bathymetry, multibeam and other acoustic sensors, and cable route charting. Based in San Diego, Calif., and Surrey, B.C., Geomatics Data Solutions believes in increasing efficiency through appropriate automation and streamlining of processes. This approach allows the firm to increase productivity to meet tight schedules, while consistently maintaining its commitment to high quality and reducing operating costs.


Leica Geosystems Inc.

With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information. Those who use Leica products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3,500 employees in 28 countries, and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Airborne Hydrography AB and Leica Geosystems are both part of Hexagon, a leading global provider of design, measurement and visualization technologies that enable customers to design, measure and position objects, and process and present data.