LiDAR’s Going Mainstream

For years I’ve struggled to explain all that Reality Capture is, does, and can do to aid in understanding our world. The power and breadth of applications is exactly the thing that makes an elevator pitch near impossible. Generally, I avoid generalities, and just pick a specific application or project that I think someone will find interesting and talk about that. The downside is that much of the power of Reality Capture resides in the ability to visualize information. Talking about it does not do it justice. While I’ve long recognized this fact, it was really driven home this week as I watched TV with my kids.

For most of this week the National Geographic Channel has been showing programs that highlight the uses of reality capture in the fields of archaeology and anthropology. In particular, the shows Lost World of the Maya and Lost Treasures of the Mayan Snake King clearly demonstrate how LiDAR technology is redefining our understanding of the Mayan world by focusing on the remote sensing being spearheaded by PACUNAM.org. For those unfamiliar with ReCap tech, these shows provide powerful examples of how georeferenced sensors are changing our understanding of our environment, our resources, and our history. …and according to my kids, they do a much better job than any of my stories!