Mobile infrastructure mapping is the process of collecting geospatial data of structures or topography from a moving vehicle. Originally it was performed with low-flying aircraft carrying downward looking cameras or radar to map the topography of inaccessible areas.
The development of three-dimensional laser scanning systems have brought a new capability to infrastructure mapping. The accuracy of the data collected using laser scanners enables detailed comparisons of the position of structures or slopes of river and road banks, to allow detection of shifts or movement over time. Data gathered after a catastrophe such as a flood or earthquake can be compared to that collected previously to rapidly assess which structures are affected and which can be put back into use.
State-of-the-art laser scanners have become less costly, more accurate, and compact enough to be carried on automobiles. Unfortunately, they remain too large and power intensive for conventional drones. Not so for our tandem-duct UAVs.