DJI L1 – LIDAR For The Masses

LiDAR has always been the gold standard for precision surveying, but until recently it has been priced out of reach for most surveyors. The systems were extremely expensive, with many running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were also often big, heavy, and required a lot of training to use. In other words, they were far from being a technology that the average surveyor could use.

This has changed dramatically with the advent of new technologies and price points, as well as some innovative companies who have combined these elements to bring LiDAR into range for many more users around the world. One such company is DJI. Not to sound too dramatic, but with the release of their new Zenmuse L1 LiDAR payload, they’ve changed the game!

What Is LiDAR?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the L1, let’s take a second to understand exactly what LiDAR is. LiDAR is an acronym for “Light Detection and Ranging” – but what does that mean? According to the American Geoscience Institute, LiDAR is a technology that measures range (varying distances) to the Earth using light in the form of a pulsed laser.  These light pulses, along with data gathered by the airborne system, contribute to precise 3D information about the earth’s surface and target object. When you shine a laser onto an object, the light bounces back to your sensor.


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