Pursuing our charter to bring new and emerging technologies to the Laser-Scan remote sensing arena, Aerotec LLC is proud to announce our newest innovation, the MK II elliptical laser-scan airborne data acquisition system with two integrated 15 mega pixel color cameras. This new system a) reduces airborne data capture time, b) uses an innovative elliptical scan pattern, c) provides “full-wave” data capture technology, d) increases data density (up to 80 points per square meter), and e) detects even the smallest of obstacles all from the air. Combined with imagery from the onboard cameras and other remotely sensed data, Aerotec will continue to lead the remote-sensing industry in providing turn-key survey, mapping and modeling solutions in a number of industries.

Aerotec LIDAR Accuracy Report Click to view or download. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
LIDAR Accuracy Assessment Report.pdf

MK II Features
- Elliptical Scan Pattern (continuous forward, side-to-side, and backward scan)
- Ability to scan multiple sides of an object on a single pass
- Full-wave data acquisition capability
- Extremely dense, uniform point data
- Larger swath width
- Greater definition of targets (vertical walls, ability to look under overhangs)
- Integrated high-resolution digital cameras (vertical and oblique)
- Simultaneous LIDAR and digital imagery capture

See the LIDAR FAQ for more information.

Lidar Applications
  • Electric Power Transmission
  • Pipeline Transmission
  • Transportation
    • Airports
    • Highways
    • Waterways
    • Railroads
  • Land Development
    • Golf resorts
    • Commercial
    • Surface mining
  • Forestry

Select a thumbnail below to view sample data

Area Scan
Colorized Lidar
(Power Plant)
Scan Patttern Colorized Lidar
Area Scan Colorized Lidar
(Golf Course)


What is LIDAR?

Lidar is an abbreviation for Light Detection and Ranging. Similar in concept to radar, lidar uses pulses of laser light to measure the distance from a platform (in Aerotec’s case, a helicopter) to an object such as the ground, an electric transmission wire, or a building.

How much data is collected from a lidar platform?

It depends on the system, but Aerotec’s lidar can collect up to 200,000 survey points each second. Depending on factors such as flight altitude, flight velocity, and system settings, data density (defined as the number of lidar points collected within a square meter) is usually 40 points per square meter, although Aerotec has produced densities as high as 80 points per square meter. Objects such as the tops of trees, power lines, towers, buildings, and the ground are all detected with the lidar system. This allows for a very comprehensive survey of an area in a very short period of time.

200,000 points per second sounds like a lot. What does the data look like and what do you do with it?

Essentially, the raw data “looks” like a lot of dots, except that each “dot” has a precise X, Y, and Z value associated with it. Aerotec uses commercial as well as custom-built software to extract meaningful information from these thousands (and often millions) of data points.

What happens if a laser pulse hits something, like the top of a tree?

Again, the answer depends on what type of lidar system is being used. Aerotec’s lidar can collect up to five (5) echoes from a single laser pulse. This allows Aerotec to define vegetation canopies, intermediate vertical structures, and the ground simultaneously.

Do you have to survey during “leaf-off” conditions?

In the majority of cases, Aerotec can conduct a lidar survey during leaf-on conditions just as well as during leaf-off. Several factors allow this to occur. First, Aerotec’s lidar fires very rapidly. Second, the laser beam is very narrow, which, when combined with the first factor, allows us to “shoot the gaps” in the tree canopy. Finally, because Aerotec’s lidar is helicopter mounted, we can fly lower and slower over a target area, thereby putting more laser pulses over a given area.

Is lidar accurate?

Accuracy depends on the lidar platform itself and how the survey is physically executed. Also, be aware that there are two types of accuracy; absolute and relative. Absolute refers to how accurate the survey is with respect to a known benchmark such as a National Geodetic Survey (NGS) monument. Relative accuracy refers to how accurate one lidar point within the survey is to another point within the same survey. Aerotec routinely collects lidar data with an absolute accuracy of 10 – 15 cm and a relative accuracy of 2 – 4 cm. Both the absolute and relative values stated here refer to horizontal and vertical accuracies.

Can I use traditional ground survey data with lidar data?

Yes, provided that the ground survey and the lidar survey utilize the same benchmark origin.

Do I have to have special software to use lidar data?

No! Aerotec has gone to great lengths to ensure its customers do not have to do anything out of the ordinary to use its lidar data. Aerotec handles all the filtering and formatting issues associated with using lidar data and delivers its products in industry-standard formats for software such as AutoCAD, MicroStation, and ArcView, just to name a few.


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