From LiDAR Data to 3D Model: Fast and Easy Visualization of LiDAR Datasets

LiDAR dataset of nearly one billion points, the Canadian city of Ottawa is presented in impressive detail.

In this LiDAR dataset of nearly one billion points, the Canadian city of Ottawa is presented in impressive detail, but can easily be manipulated and interrogated on even a laptop computer using CoViz 4D software

Geothermal oil and gas, mining, and construction industries have, for a long time, used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) as one of the methods of data collection to measure distances or ranges for conducting geological or seismological surveys. LiDAR, a remote sensing method, uses an array of laser lights and measures the time of reflection to study the Earth’s parameters such as infrastructure or topographical and geographical features. This data, however, may not be sufficient on its own to present a comprehensive view of the Earth’s surface characteristics. In combination with other geoscientific data, engineers can convert LiDAR data to 3D models, which can be effectively interpreted by industries to analyze the economic potential of their project.

Data Integration for Comprehensive Analysis of LiDAR Data

LiDAR technology uses a terrestrial (stationary or mobile) or aerial method of laser scanning for data collection. The aerial method makes use of fixed or rotary wing manned aircraft or drones for scanning. LiDAR scanning allows asset teams to:

  • Collect non-invasive, accurate and high density of data quickly and efficiently.
  • Collect a large amount of data in the form of a 3D point cloud providing information across a potentially large area of interest.
  • Scan topographical or terrain obstacles, faults, and geological boundaries with little to no issues during data collection.
  • Collect the data at any time of the day, as the sensors emitting laser beams do not rely on the availability of light sources. In fact, data collection at night time can be more effective due to lack of disturbance.
  • Gather data from places that are otherwise inaccessible, or difficult to attain.

The billions of data points captured during this process are useful in developing a comprehensive 3D surface model. However, the analysis of solely LiDAR data is not sufficient for decision making. To achieve a more accurate analysis, LiDAR can be combined with various geoscientific data including:

  • 2D/ 3D/ 4D seismic models
  • 3D Earth models (faults and strata)
  • Topographic or digital elevation models (DEM)
  • Satellite imagery
  • Geochemical measurements
  • Infrastructure and facilities locations
  • Well locations
  • Structural/ Property models
  • Time-series data
  • ASCII data

The opportunity to visualize these data together in a single environment allows a team to develop a deeper analysis of geological features, perform project design planning, and make critical decisions throughout the life of the project. The integration and visualization of these data and models with LiDAR can be made easier with the help of tools such as CoViz 4D.

LiDAR Data to 3D Model: Easy Visualization With CoViz 4D

CoViz 4D makes it easy to manipulate and analyze disparate 3D datasets and integrate LiDAR data with different geoscientific data that define the Earth’s geological characteristics. The software facilitates the integration of LiDAR data to a 3D model by allowing the user to:

  • Easily import and read readily available LiDAR datasets from various external sources. (.laz, .las data file types).
  • Perform rapid processing and display of a large amount of LiDAR data points.
  • Integrate and display LiDAR data along with other geoscientific data and 3D datasets.
  • Control the level of detail of the LiDAR point cloud.
  • Control the scale of the LiDAR data point display to produce a better image.
  • Breakdown the LiDAR data into tiles and use color coding for fast visualization and easy interpretation.

The efficient data integration and visualization capabilities within CoViz 4D allow asset teams to save time and capital invested in the digitization process. Further monitoring and comparison of LiDAR data and 3D models will allow engineers to make proper planning, design, and minimize the project risks.

CoViz 4D, a data visualization software from Dynamic Graphics, Inc., gives users the ability to easily integrate geological data and LiDAR data to create a 3D model. Powerful visualization capabilities enable you to create, explore, manage, and analyze the remote sensing data and model and allow easy manipulation and interrogation. To learn more about CoViz 4D contact our team.


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