Acquisition, modelling and interpretation of environmental data

Climate change and over-exploitation of resources are possible causes of a growing number of natural disasters worldwide. Such incidents are already a serious safety problem today and, not least, an economic risk: floods, landslides and windstorms claim numerous human lives and cause major economic losses. The higher and more accurate the prediction quality for such natural events, the more targeted countermeasures can be initiated or precautions taken. Such active »resilience engineering« can prevent damage or at least reduce the damage balance.

The LAP, developed by Fraunhofer IPM, is an innovative monitoring system that reliably measures infrastructure elements from the air. The measured data are incorporated into simulation models. The system is based on a measuring unit that weighs less than 3 kilograms and can easily be mounted on a UAV. It consists of a laser scanner, several cameras and optional positioning sensors such as GNSS or IMU. The LAP captures an area of several hundred square meters in less than ten minutes. Across the flight direction, the laser scanner generates up to 60 measuring profiles per second with 500 measuring points each. The precision of a single point measurement is around 1 cm.

The 3D data of the scanner offers two main advantages: Measuring beams are capable of penetrating the foliage. In contrast to camera images, they provide ground points even under trees or shrubs. Moreover, there are no disturbing shadowing effects, which are unavoidable with purely camera-based systems. At the same time, the 3D point clouds generated by the scanner, supplemented by RGB information from images, form an ideal basis for automated evaluation of the measurement data.