LiDAR Module Overview
The Global Mapper LiDAR Module is an optional enhancement to the software that provides numerous advanced LiDAR processing tools, including Pixels-to-Points™for photogrammetric point cloud creation from an array of images, 3D model or mesh creation from a point cloud, automatic point cloud classification, automatic extraction of buildings, trees, and powerlines, cross-sectional viewing and point editing, custom digitizing or extraction of 3D line and area features, dramatically faster surface generation, LiDAR quality control, and much more.
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Key functionality offered in the LiDAR Module includes:
- Pixels-to-Points tool for creating a high density point cloud from overlapping imagery as well as an orthoimage and 3D mesh
- 3D mesh creation from selected LiDAR points
- A convenient LiDAR Toolbar for easy access to key editing and analysis functions
- Multiple gridding options for faster DSM or DTM generation
- Access to point cloud files containing a billion points or more
- Automatic point classification tools that automatically distinguish building, ground, vegetation and power lines and above-ground utility cables in unclassified layers
- Feature extraction functionality to automatically create 3D building footprints, trees and power lines
- Cross-sectional rendering using Global Mapper’s Path Profile tool for viewing and editing the point cloud in a vertical perspective
- 3D Digitizing or custom feature extraction using the perpendicular profile function
- Advanced filtering options to efficiently remove erroneous or unneeded points
- Proximity query function to identify points of a certain class encroaching on other points or line features
- Customizable detection and reclassification of noise points
- LiDAR scripting commands for streamlining workflow
- Point colorization from underlying imagery or gridded layer
- A LiDAR QC tool for correcting point cloud elevations using ground control points
- Multiple point cloud visualization options including by classification, intensity, elevation, RGB, and point density
- Support for reporting LiDAR statistics
- Advanced point cloud thinning
- Support for importing and exporting most common point cloud formats
- Support for NIR (near-infrared) point attributes with the option to create a NDVI or NDWI grid
- LiDAR sorting optimization to improve display and analysis speed.
Introduced with the version 19 release of the LiDAR Module, this powerful tool creates a high-density 3D point cloud from an array of overlapping images, such as those collected by UAVs. Based on the principles of photogrammetry, the process identifies objects in multiple images and from multiple perspectives to generate the point cloud. As a by-product of the point generation process, the Pixels-to-Points tool can create an orthorectified image by gridding the RGB values in each point, as well as a 3D mesh, complete with photorealistic textures.
Mesh or 3D Model Creation
Using a selected group of LiDAR points, this process uses the inherent 3D geometry of the points along with the associated colors if present and creates a 3D mesh or model. When viewed in 3D, this model displays as a multifaceted photo-realistic 3D representation of the corresponding feature. This process produces a similar output to the model creation option in the Pixels-to-Points tool.
Based on the geometric properties and other characteristics of the LiDAR file or point cloud, the LiDAR Module’s automatic reclassification tool is able to accurately identify and automatically reclassify points representing the important point feature types. First and foremost is the identification of ground points, which is used for the creation of a DTM or bare-earth model. Within the remaining above-ground points, specific algorithms can be applied to identify and reclassify high vegetation, buildings, and powerlines or utility cables.
One of the LiDAR Module’s most powerful capabilities, the feature extraction tool is used to create vector (point, line, or polygon) features derived from appropriately classified points. Based on a series of customizable settings, patterns of points representing buildings, trees, and utility cables are analyzed and their extent is automatically delineated as a series of 3D vector objects or, in the case of buildings, as a 3D mesh.
Effective Noise Removal
Addressing a major concern among LiDAR users, Global Mapper LiDAR Module provides an efficient and effective way to remove noise from point cloud data. This powerful filtering tool can reclassify or automatically delete any points that are beyond a prescribed elevation or height above ground threshold within a local area.
LiDAR Proximity Querying
A common use case in point cloud or LiDAR analysis is the detection of encroachment. The “Select LiDAR by Distance” tool is used to specify a particular point type – such as powerline – a distance threshold, and a target point type – such as high vegetation – to automatically select points representing the encroaching vegetation.
The LiDAR Module offers a powerful 3D feature extraction or digitizing tool. Utilizing the perpendicular profiling function, a series of points can be placed in successive profile views resulting in the creation of 3D areas or line features. This provides a very easy way to digitize highly accurate 3D features from LiDAR or terrain data, such as road edge and curb lines, powerlines, and buildings.
LiDAR Quality Control
The LiDAR Module offers a tool for verifying the vertical accuracy of a point cloud. Using surveyed ground control points, the elevation values throughout the layer can be checked and adjusted if necessary.
Using a set of customizable parameters, this tool reduces the number of points in a point cloud resulting in a more manageable file size while eliminating redundancy.
Low-Cost LiDAR Processing
The enhanced LiDAR analysis and editing functionality in the Global Mapper LiDAR module is offered at a significantly lower price than similar applications. The cost of activating this module is on par with the cost of purchasing a copy of Global Mapper with flexible licensing options for available for network, enterprise, and academic use. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Global Mapper LiDAR Module is embedded in the standard version of the software and is activated using an appropriate license file or order number. As with the full version of Global Mapper, the LiDAR Module can be activated on a trial basis by requesting a temporary license. Click here for instructions on how to activate the module.