Why LiDAR needs inertial navigation

Why LiDAR needs inertial navigation – see our new video

Company News

June 21, 2019

LiDAR (Light detection and ranging technology) is at the centre of a digital revolution.

These powerful sensors provide the power to map the world around you, producing highly accurate, dense 3D Point Clouds.

Established in the survey industry, LiDAR technology is continuously tested and adapted for new applications in other sectors. It is bridging the gap between industries including Automotive and Survey.

 Georeferencing point clouds

While LiDAR generates 3D maps and digital twins of surrounding environments; it can’t tell you where in the world the data relates to.

Assigning a geographic coordinate to a LiDAR data point requires knowledge of where and when the LiDAR sensor is – so time, position and orientation are needed at all times.

Based upon these measurements, when the pulse leaves the device and returns, and the orientation of the LiDAR unit, a real-world geographic coordinate is calculated and dynamically assigned. (A process known as direct georeferencing).

“LiDAR has no concept of its own position or when it has registered a hit on an object,” says Paris Austin, OxTS’ business manager for LiDAR survey applications.

“An inertial navigation system georeferences your point cloud (also known as point cloud localisation) both in absolute (Earth frame) and relative (XYZ) location. It can even do it in real-time if you need to.”

Using an INS with a LiDAR, particularly using a UAV/UAS, also offers plenty of other benefits for surveyors including:

  • Reduced lower fields costs with fewer Ground Control Points
  • Automation to mapping procedures
  • Increase consistency of data collection

Our xNAV and Survey+ inertial navigation systems, provides the ability to directly georeference your point cloud data in every environment.

Inertial navigation systems are integral for georeferencing LiDAR point clouds for both UAV/UAS and mobile mapping applications. Find out why here.

You can learn more about the survey-grade xNAV and Survey+ inertial navigation systems, or complete the request form for more information.