Aerial LiDAR (also often referred to as Aerial Lasers) refers to a remote sensing instrument which uses radiowaves to measure properties of scattered light; used out of an aircraft to produce point cloud data of a large area while flying over. Aerial LiDAR surveys are often used in mining to assist with engineering and surveying applications. This sort of work is normally done by a contracting company as it is not usually feasible for a mine to purchase the equipment, aircraft and pilots to do the work in only one location. Furthermore exclusive use agreements limit the amount of people who have access to such equipment.
This technology works by measuring the trajectory of the aircraft in three dimensions while measuring the orientation of the laser scanner around three rotational axes. Simultaneously it transmits and receives laser pulses while measuring the range to the reflective surface. In other words, it knows where it is while it conducts measurements - and knows where it's measured to.
The technology uses inertia control systems, GPS, LiDAR, computers and data recorders and can also make use of cameras.
For more information about this technology, click here.
The following pictures should help provide a better understanding of the technology:
Manufacturers and Models
If you would look to read some more about different aerial LiDAR products, refer to the links below.
Leica: ALS50 II
Optech: ALTM Terrain Mapper
Riegl: (Lasers for) Litemapper and Toposys/Trimble
Trimble/Toposys: Harrier Systems (Integrated Riegl Laser and Falcon III)
A typical LiDAR system comprises of the following:
The following pictures show the type of information we can get from LiDAR surveys, and why it's useful in mining applications:
More available in the Volumes Section.