In October I had the pleasure of working with Toby Minear, USGS Research Hydrologist, in Cozad, Neb. With a Maptek I-Site 8800 laser scanner we scanned an irrigation ditch off the Platte River to study the effects of scouring on noxious weeds.
On the first day we scanned the ditch when it was dry. Later we returned and opened the head gates to flood the ditch with more than six feet of water. We did multiple scans from the same point as the water in the ditch rose and fell, which also allowed us to model the waves in the current as they formed and grew. After the water was drained we scanned again to see the effect of the turbulent flow on the vegetation.
One of the things that Toby got from studying the scan data in Maptek I-Site Studio was the elevation of the top of the vegetation. These data points can help the USGS researchers model the flow and velocity of water at various elevations of the water column. More importantly, it will allow them create a topographical map of the area pre- and post-flood. Compared to traditional GPS gear, I-Site can save 7 to 9 hours per hour of scanning, making their job faster and easier.
Recently Toby used an I-Site 8800 to scan the aftermath of Hurricane Issac in Lousiana. With it he was able to model the height of the storm surge by identifying flotsam in the trees. The data acquisition and modelling of the storm surge elevation allowed researchers and scientists to evaluate the power of hurricane surges, and work towards improving and designing public safety.
This was a fun experience for me as I rarely work in vegetated areas. I spend majority of my time scanning mines, so it was great to see another exciting application for laser scanning. In my opinion, this takes mapping and volume calculations we use everyday in the mining industry to a whole new level.
Maptek has worked with Toby since his days as a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. We supplied educational software licenses and scanners for research to Toby and a number of other people at the university. For the last five years we have rented scanners to UC Berkeley students for research in urban planning, environmental and earth sciences. They have scanned tree, streams, buildings, and various geographical features.
Senior I-Site Solutions Manager
November 12, 2012
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