Updated: Mar 30
LiDAR - Light Detection and RangingWho doesn’t know about radar? You check it on TV or online to see if that big storm is headed your way. Law enforcement uses it to deter speeding. You’re familiar with the figure of speech that something is “not on your radar screen.” But were you aware that the word “radar” started out seven decades ago as an acronym? The fact that RADAR stands for “radio detection and ranging” is probably not on your radar screen. LiDAR is, in certain respects, a lot like radar. Like radar, it’s an acronym, short for light detection and ranging. And like radar, it’s a technology for determining what’s out there. But while radar systems emit radio waves and measure what bounces back, LiDAR uses light waves. It’s a powerful data collection system that provides 3-D information for an area of interest or a project area. Among many things, it’s useful for such tasks as surface mapping, vegetation mapping, transportation corridor mapping, transmission route mapping, and 3-D building mapping. It may use light waves, but you can’t see LiDAR in action any more than you can see a police officer’s radar waves bouncing off your front bumper. The light waves are well past the visible spectrum that the eye can see. For the record, though, a LiDAR system can see in the dark.