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Can You Afford to Use LIDAR Mapping? Or Can You Afford Not to?

 If you have a land to survey and you are basically questioning whether or not to use LIDAR mapping in the process or go with photogrammetry the best answer to all of this is yes, you should definitely go with LIDAR. Now once you’ve decided that you are opting for LIDAR, the second question that comes into your mind is how much does LIDAR mapping cost? Is LIDAR mapping cost over budget? Is photogrammetry cheaper than LIDAR survey cost?

All these questions finally get to the point where one has to decide whether or not LIDAR mapping is worth it or not.

Before understanding the entire process of LIDAR and its worth, let’s understand what does LIDAR basically mean and how is it helpful in the entire LIDAR mapping techniques.

Lidar basically means light detection and ranging. Likewise, it is a remote sensing technology which basically helps in acquiring the data on the earth’s surface which involves sensing of the entire region and provides elevation data. Any LIDAR system basically holds three important components, the first being the laser or the ranging system, the second is the global positioning system device and the third is an inertial measurement unit.

When it comes to serving the region or a mapping LIDAR has always offered many advantages over basic photogrammetry techniques. Lidar sensors are less affected by atmospherically changing and light distortions. But, apart from offering an upper hand, over photogrammetry, the cost of the entire process still becomes an obstacle, which has hindered the process of widespread adoption of LIDAR.

How is LIDAR used in drones?

Generally, the sensing device is attached to a drone so it becomes easy to fly out. A Scan Look is a series of LIDAR systems for example is added to the DJI Matrice 600 for procuring best results in regions which comprise of sparse vegetation.

As we talked about the LIDAR mapping cost, we also have to understand that this application of money is not only involved in the pre-survey but also in the post processes. Hire the equipment used in a LIDAR survey better, the software is the need to be used, which eventually increases the LIDAR survey cost.

How much does LIDAR mapping cost?

Or a normal day during LIDAR mapping survey are UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) LIDAR system would cost around $2500 which is 2.06 lakhs in Indian rupee denomination. But in case of a manned aircraft LIDAR system, the price can go up as high as $30,000 a day which accounts for 24.79 lakhs in Indian rupees. Generally, UAV operators prefer not putting ground control points when mapping with LIDAR, but it is believed that it will only hamper the precision of data in such cases. Generally using the ground control points helps in accurate mapping with LIDAR, which provides best results for mapping in fields like construction and engineering. So with the high end price comes the data full of precision answering the question to how much does LIDAR mapping cost.

Is LIDAR better than photogrammetry?

This question can be a better answer, depending on the region that is getting surveyed. If a region full of dense vegetation is getting surveyed, it is always better to use LIDAR in case of photogrammetry because LIDAR gives high vertical accuracy with detailing of each vegetation parts. But if the same is done with photogrammetry, the precision can be hampered. Areas with sparse vegetation on site are perfectly processed with the help of photogrammetry techniques because it is this technique that can yield high vertical accuracy at that point of time.

So it is difficult to decide which process to go about while serving a region but LIDAR can definitely prove out to be more advantages and more precise. If only if one can bear the cost of the same. LIDAR definitely offers various advantages like speed, collecting data from variety of locations, completely automated functionality, accuracy, high point, density on vertical targets, availability of 3D map, upon landing, less flight time, works in both day and night, many more.

So it is for individual companies to basically decide whether or not to bear the LIDAR mapping cost and go ahead with it or stick to basic photogrammetry techniques. 

Let us know in the comment section below your opinions on whether one should use LIDAR or photogrammetry during different processes. Also let us know your opinions on LIDAR mapping cost.

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