Until recently, flying a LiDAR sensor on a drone was cost prohibitive and often yielded inferior results when compared with other traditional high accuracy mapping methods. Now with high quality LiDAR sensors specifically engineered to be flown on drone platforms such as the Riegl Mini-Vux and the Velodyne Puck, drone LiDAR mapping is going mainstream.
On sites with little obstructions we have consistently achieved high accuracy mapping solutions (under 5cm vertical and horizontal accuracy) with drone based image acquisition, ample ground control points and proper photogrammetric processing methods. The challenge arises when the target site has trees, tall grass and other obstructions that makes seeing the surface of the ground difficult (or impossible). In these conditions, LiDAR sensors shine.
LiDAR sensors send thousands of near IR light pulses each second at high frequency, oftentimes penetrating all but the densest foliage and measures the direction, location and distance of the returning light pulses to construct precisely defined 3D point clouds of the target area. DroneView Technologies, with hundreds of successful image based drone mapping projects completed continues to lead the market now with sophisticated drone LiDAR solutions.