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Home arrow Articles arrow Articles from Spatial Media Authors arrow LiDAR Feature - Underwater Mapping—Another Colorado LiDAR Company Emerges     

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LiDAR Feature - Underwater Mapping—Another Colorado LiDAR Company Emerges PDF Print E-mail
GISuser Feature Articles - Articles from Spatial Media Authors
Written by Stephen M. Hannon / LiDARnews   
04 February 2013

They say there's something about the mountain air in Colorado. Well, there must be something about the water, too. The state of Colorado has birthed a remarkable number of LiDAR companies and organizations focused on addressing challenging remote sensing problems. In the 1970's, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Environmental Technology Laboratory initiated their legacy of developing and deploying research-caliber, directdetection and coherent-detection LiDAR systems for wind sensing and constituent mapping.

Then, in the mid-1980's, Coherent Technologies, Inc. (now part of Lockheed Martin) appeared and has focused on heterodyne detection LiDAR products for both atmospheric sensing and hard target imaging. In parallel, companies such as Ophir Corporation, Ball Aerospace, and Areté Associates (Longmont office) have produced their share of LiDAR development systems and products. Shrinking the standoff distance, Boulder's Zolo Technologies, Inc. and SPEC Inc. focus on short-range (quasi in situ) measurements to characterize constituents in industrial and atmospheric research applications. And this is not a complete listing, especially when factoring Colorado-based companies that develop and supply key enabling technologies and components for LiDAR sensors.

It should come as no surprise, then, that yet another Colorado-based LiDAR company is emerging. However, given that the state is located more than 500 miles from the nearest ocean, eyebrows may rise when it is revealed that this new addition to Colorado's LiDAR ecosystem is developing LiDAR for underwater imaging applications.

Boulder's 3D at Depth initiated its first significant development through a Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) contract in January of 2011. Since then, the company has made incredibly fast progress toward the first product release of its precision imaging underwater LiDAR, which is planned for the first half of 2013. A nighttime picture of the LiDAR operating in a test pool is shown in Figure 1. 3D at Depth is focused on several offshore oil and gas applications. In these cases, their sensor and software provide the functional equivalent of the types of jobs traditional terrestrial LiDAR scanners are performing `topside' on platforms.

Specific application areas include asset mapping and inspection in support of subsea construction. As well, associated as-built verification activities are required for operations, maintenance and sustainment. Such metrological measurements are becoming increasingly critical for subsea tieback applications that have become the predominant deep water production strategy in the 21st century.

Enjoy this article? Keep reading the feature on LiDARnews

A 956Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE


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