GreenValley International Uses 360 Cameras to Transform LiDAR Mapping

7 min read

The perfect marriage of point cloud precision and stunning 360 imagery. GreenValley International utilize 360 cameras to bring LiDAR mapping data to life with rich color and texture to better inform decision making. 

LiDAR mapping is a vital process used to create high-precision maps with applications spanning across multiple industries including construction, surveying, geography, forestry and many more. Traditional LiDAR mapping systems use point clouds (sets of 3D elevation points) to turn raw data into 3D models. 

But one issue with traditional LiDAR mapping is that point clouds lack color information. As a result, maps are difficult to interpret and do not provide a clear visual representation of the environment. This can complicate and negatively affect decision making, ranging from the safety of a mine to the density of a forest. 

Global LiDAR solutions provider GreenValley International identified this issue with traditional LiDAR mapping systems. GreenValley International partnered with Insta360 to provide a complete and visually stunning integrated LiDAR mapping solution for enterprise clients.

GreenValley International’s mobile LiDAR mapping solution currently makes use of Insta360 ONE Series cameras including ONE X, ONE X2 and ONE R. The solution has already been applied in multiple industries such as forestry, construction, energy and mining.

What are the benefits of bringing LiDAR scans to life using 360 cameras?

High-quality panoramic imagery greatly enhances the visual expression of the point cloud data, which can assist enterprise clients in making key decisions. 

The ONE Series 360 cameras shoot 18MP HDR panoramic imagery containing detailed color information. In addition to color, the 360 cameras can also capture important texture information which further improves the point cloud’s accuracy and appearance.

Portability has historically been a challenge for LiDAR systems. ONE Series cameras are a great fit thanks to their compact design and small form-factor. This allows them to integrate easily with LiDAR backpack and tripod mounted systems. 

GreenValley International utilize ONE Series cameras with their LiBackpack and LiPod mobile LiDAR scanning systems. The lightweight designs now allow industry professionals to capture colored 3D point cloud data and map almost any environment. Users can view the scans on mobile devices using GreenValley International’s LiDAR mapping app.

Man using GreenValley International's mobile LiDAR mapping system.

Forest surveying in Japan with GreenValley International’s mobile LiDAR system

Japan’s forest coverage rate is extremely high. Accurate and efficient mapping of forest coverage is vital in establishing a sound forest management system. This is key to improving the country’s ability to resist disasters and protect the natural environment. 

In recent years, the application of LiDAR mapping technology in forestry has grown rapidly and achieved great success in assisting forestry governance and preservation. Forest surveyors use LiDAR technology to capture precise forest details such as tree crown architecture and branch structure. These fine details allow surveyors to gain a deep understanding of the changes in the forest over time. 

LiDAR mapping of Japanese forest

The government forest planning team in Shizuoka, Japan, used GreenValley International’s LiDAR systems to carry out a large-scale survey of the local forest. GreenValley International’s LiDAR backpack system, LiBackpack, played a key role in the survey, with Insta360 ONE X at the core to capture high-resolution panoramic imagery.

Mobile LiDAR backpack

The color-rich panoramic imagery from Insta360 ONE X helped the forest planning team to better interpret the data and make more informed decisions. Such decisions affect the country’s natural disaster resistance and environmental health, so it is vital to have accurate and clear data. Using GreenValley International’s LiDAR mapping app, surveyors out in the field were able to conveniently check and monitor scans throughout the entire mapping process.

GreenValley International’s mobile LiDAR mapping system is a much more efficient and comprehensive surveying solution compared to manual surveys. Manual surveys are incredibly time consuming and labor intensive. Often, the data collected is inaccurate and also challenging to interpret due to lack of real-world color and texture. 

The project received country-wide attention and was covered on NHK, the largest television station in Japan.

LiDAR backpack for forest surveying

How did GreenValley International integrate point cloud data with panoramic imagery?

GreenValley International used the tools available in the Insta360 camera software development kit (SDK) to integrate the point cloud data and panoramic imagery. Using the tools, GreenValley International were able to pull the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) information from the 360 camera. Then, the development team precisely integrated the IMU information with the point cloud data from the LiDAR scan. 

Insta360 software development kit

To achieve a seamless integration in the mobile LiDAR system, GreenValley International’s development team needed to carefully calibrate the spatial position relationship between the sensors. Once dialed in, the team was able to precisely integrate the IMU information and point cloud data. This provided maps with both point cloud precision and rich color information ready to view using the LiDAR mapping app

GreenValley International colored LiDAR mapping

The future of LiDAR mapping

As GreenValley International have demonstrated, integrated LiDAR mapping solutions are providing critical decision support for enterprise clients across a wide range of industries. Through utilizing the Insta360 camera SDK, other providers can easily develop their own LiDAR mapping apps to control the cameras and integrate panoramic imagery seamlessly into their systems.

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