Top 10 Uses of LiDAR



LiDAR is a sensing system composed of four parts, a laser, scanner, GPS receiver, and IMU. The sensors work together to create 3D maps and images of the environment.

LiDAR technology is used for a variety of different applications. Here are 10 of the top uses for this technology.

Road mapping and road planning

LiDAR is a ranging system that sends out pulsed laser beams and measures the time it takes for them to bounce back. This information is used to create a three-dimensional map of the environment.

Civil engineers and surveyors use this technology to collect precise topographic data for road projects. These surveys help them plan projects on a budget and quickly deliver the data their clients need.

Oil and gas

LiDAR is a technology that uses laser light to detect objects and measure their distances. It does so by firing pulses of laser light at a scene and recording the time it takes to reflect the light.

Oil and gas exploration companies use technology to identify new energy sources. They also use it to locate suitable locations for pipelines and drilling rigs.

Hydrographic survey

Keeping our marine transportation system running safely and efficiently requires accurate information about water depth, the sea floor and coastline shape, potential obstructions, and other physical features.

A hydrographic survey is one of the primary methods used to gather this data. It is also used to develop navigation charts and keep them current.

Hydrographic crews survey shallow waters using high-tech equipment such as Teledyne Z-boats and HyDrone Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV). These systems allow surveyors to complete detailed bathymetric surveys in challenging environments like fast-flowing currents, submerged debris, navigational hazards, and environmentally sensitive habitats.


Agriculturalists can use the LiDAR sensing system to create a 3D model of their land and determine its topography. This helps them prevent soil erosion and define how to manage the natural resources on their land.

Ranging sensors such as LiDAR and ultrasonic systems have been used in digital horticulture for plant phenotyping and site-specific management. However, they have yet to gain widespread adoption among researchers and growers.

Autonomous vehicles

In self-driving vehicles, lidar systems map the environment and build an instantaneous picture of the world around them. It helps the vehicle’s ADAS, or autonomous driving system, make real-time decisions and avoid accidents.

LiDAR is a type of laser altimetry and terrain mapping technology that uses laser beams to create a 3D landscape image. Geoscientists can use this information to help with campaign planning and agricultural surveying.

Detection of obstacles

LiDAR sensors map their environment by emitting laser pulses that reflect off nearby objects and return to the sensor. This process creates millions of precise distance measurement points every second.

The resulting point cloud can generate 3-D images of the environment, with each point containing an x, y, and z coordinate relevant for processing. This allows for precise mapping of both static and moving obstacles.


Geology is the study of the Earth’s structure and processes. It involves various scientific tools and methods, including fieldwork, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, and numerical modeling.

The geology field is an excellent choice for students interested in practical science, curious about the natural world, and want to apply their knowledge to create relevant innovations. However, it also requires strong communication skills.

Detection of faults

LiDAR uses a pulsed laser to map out the environment. Depending on the system, these pulses can occur millions of times per second.

In addition to being a great way to find the location of objects, lidar is also an excellent way to detect faults and other surface changes. The ability to identify and measure near-fault deformation during and after earthquakes is a significant advance in our understanding of the physics behind these events.

Detection of uplifts in soil

The LiDAR sensing system is a great way to detect and map uplifts in soil. Geological, geotechnical, or hydrogeological factors can cause these positive movements in the ground.

Uplifts can be caused by the swelling of clay soils, fault effects, or even water rebounds in mining areas. The lidar sensing system is the best way to identify these phenomena. Most importantly, this technology is cheap and easy to use.

Detection of water bodies

LiDAR can also detect water bodies such as rivers and lakes. In addition, it can measure the roughness of the water surface, which helps monitor the change in shorelines and coastlines, and therefore it can be used for coastal management.

Bathymetric LiDAR systems use a green laser wavelength to penetrate the water and measure its depth. These systems map the morphology of shallow water reservoirs, river beds, and coastal sea waters within three Secchi depths (Figure 6).

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