GeoWorld January 2012

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Expecting a Big Year for LIDAR and Remote Sensing POSITION T BY TODD DANIELSON he new year is here, and I know I'm looking forward to it. Regardless of religion and which holidays you honor, I really like having a big vacation to close out the year and start fresh in January, and that's exactly what we're doing here at GeoWorld: starting fresh. We'll be unveiling some new products and Web features in 2012, and we think they're going to further improve our print and digital media. I also would like to thank our readers, who have supported us with very strong readership num- bers, both in our magazine and online. LIDAR You Say? This is a "Special Issue" catering to the Imagery/LIDAR industry, meaning it has a very specific focus geared toward those audiences. In fact, we'll be show- casing this issue at the International LIDAR Mapping Forum being held Jan. 23-25 in Denver, just downhill a ways from where I live. I'm very excited to be attending this event, as LIDAR is one of the fastest-growing sectors in all of geotechnology. Not coincidentally, we recently created and distributed a LIDAR questionnaire that we sent out to all of our readers, and we had hundreds of responses. The following are some things we learned from the answers: plan on using LIDAR data in the near future. in order, terrain/flood mapping, verti- cal information and corridor mapping. Todd Danielson is editor of GeoWorld magazine, PO Box 773498, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; e-mail: 4 GEO W ORLD /JANUAR Y 2O12 needing more than 1TB (that's 1,000GB) of storage. collect bare-Earth imagery, with the rest using canopy points. own LIDAR hardware, and only about the same number plan on purchasing such equipment. purchase LIDAR hardware spend more than $700,000. LIDAR services from a vendor plan on spending less than $50,000. to purchase processing software. We also asked several questions about specific hardware, software and service vendors, but I'm not going to promote anyone and post those results. I'm sure you can ask us if you need to know. So what does this tell me? For starters, LIDAR is an expensive form of data. There's just no way around that. But it also must be very valuable, as a lot of our respondents are willing to pay the hefty fees to acquire the informa- tion. My guess is that it falls into the "time is money" category. You make up for the investment in time savings ranging from quick and relatively easy data gathering as well as getting the data right the first time and not having to waste time correcting errors. What about Traditional Imagery? We created the LIDAR survey because it's a new and growing segment, but we realize that imagery from commercial satellites and existing government sensors still are a major source of quality informa- tion for those using geotechnology. Remember, your map (and mapping software) is only as good as the data you put into it. So although this column focuses on LIDAR, we have several feature articles in this issue that focus on other aspects, including a look at the commercial imaging market and some unique ways traditional government satellite data are being used to improve lives and livelihoods. So please check out this "Special Issue," and broaden your knowledge about the various forms of remote-sensing data and what they can do for you. Imagery/LIDAR Special Issue

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