LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is a popular remote sensing method used for measuring the exact distance of an object on the earth’s surface. Even though it was first used in the 1960s when laser scanners were mounted to aeroplanes, LiDAR didn’t get the popularity it deserved until twenty years later. It was only during the 1980s after the introduction of GPS that it became a popular method for calculating accurate geospatial measurements.

Now that its scope has spread across numerous fields, we should know more about LiDAR mapping technology and how it works. Here are a few insights about it that are good to know.

LiDAR is a technology where a scanner emits pulses of light energy (using a laser) at buildings and other objects in an area, and measures how long it takes for the pulse to return. The laser pulse travels at the speed of light. Accordingly, the distance it travels can be calculated by multiplying the amount of time it takes for the pulse to arrive back at the scanner, with the speed of light, and dividing that figure by two (since the pulse makes a round trip).

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