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How LiDAR Changes the Way We Survey Projects

Dec 20, 2023
Surveying road by water

From the earliest land measurements to the more precise methods that helped lay the foundations of modern cities, surveying is a crucial element of the iconic infrastructure we use every day. More recently, the surveying field witnessed a remarkable transformation with the introduction of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.

LiDAR is a revolutionary technology that harnesses laser scanning systems to craft highly precise 3-D maps. By using LiDAR, we can swiftly and efficiently map entire systems, a remarkable departure from relying on outdated drawings for modeling.

As the production manager of LiDAR & scanning services at AEI, an STV Company, I can attest to one of LiDAR’s standout advantages: its unparalleled positional accuracy. This technology can pinpoint the precise location of data collection and provide intricate details about data point relationships, enabling us to map entire cities with millimeter-level precision.

Recently, our team showcased the power of LiDAR in a project supporting a shipping company. This initiative aimed at implementing a materials handling system for the company’s fourth-largest distribution center. Using LiDAR, we identified 30 conflicts and discrepancies absent from the original designs, saving the client from costly construction errors.

Moreover, LiDAR scans allow us to collect data safely and without disrupting on-site clients or workflow. I’ve personally employed LiDAR to scan a wide range of environments, from rivers to crawl spaces, providing clients with the essential data to make well-informed decisions.

For instance, during a utility scan of a military base in need of utility rerouting solutions, my team used LiDAR to layer millions of data points on top of each scan, greatly enhancing project efficiency and precision without significant disruptions to those on site.

As our clients increasingly require higher precision and efficiency, the introduction of LiDAR expertise is poised to create new opportunities for both existing and potential clients.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what LiDAR can do. Better tools lead to better projects, and with each project, we discover new ways to reimagine and leverage this cutting-edge technology.

Danny Stover headshot

Danny Stover is a production manager of LiDAR & scanning services at AEI, an STV Company, which was acquired by STV in June 2023. He brings nearly 30 years of experience working in the many different disciplines of civil engineering as a design technician, having performed every facet of the industry’s work. In a fast-moving, ever-changing industry, he has maintained a proven record of adapting to emerging technologies and providing innovation with carefully planned surveying solutions.