LIDAR-scan-

Of the many VFX and scientific spaces I write in, over the last few months I have been lucky enough to dig into the various applications of LiDAR.  This is the laser vision technology that has revolutionized many industries.  My latest piece digs into some ground-breaking research in Guatemala carried out by the National Geographic’s Discovery Channel.

Here is my Velodyne LiDAR Newsroom Mayan Ruins story.

In 2014, their crew made an amazing discovery in the jungles of the El Mirador Basin, deep in the heart of Guatemala. Using traditional LiDAR, a research team discovered what looked like ancient buildings, buried deep in the forest. This year, they contacted LiDARUSA to rescan and analyze the data with Velodyne’s higher resolution sensors, the HDL-32.    Attaching large LiDAR sensors to the skids of a chopper, they scanned the forest back and forth until they had complete coverage of a wide area.

 

The results could then be fed into a visualizing software package which had the ability to wind back the render of the canopy.  This revealed a previously hidden network of vast roads, stone buildings and huge temples, many thousands of years old.
As an extension to this research, LiDARUSA will soon be using Velodyne’s largest sensors, the VLS-128 in a new chapter of Central American archaeology.    This video from National Geographic also gives some background.

 

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Written by Paul Hellard

Freelance journalist. Also videographer, photographer, cyclist and lover of all things sustainable, creative and digital.

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