European LiDAR Mapping Forum

Report on the First ELMF, The Hague, The Netherlands, 30 November - 1 December 2010

The first European LiDAR Mapping Forum [ELMF] was held at the prestigious World Forum, in The Hague, The Netherlands. This technical conference focussed on the use of LiDAR in mapping and surveying across a wide range of markets, attracted 613 registered delegates from 46 countries.

The organizers, Intelligent Exhibitions and TMS International, have a successful record of  ten years of the International LiDAR Mapping Forum [ILMF] the premier international conference for LiDAR and Mobile Mapping, which is held annually in the USA. With growing acceptance in Europe of the benefits of LiDAR in low cost mapping, the European LiDAR community wanted a showcase for its fast growing number of applications, and so the ELMF was born.

The Conference was opened by Chairman Alastair MacDonald of TMS International, who noted that laser scanners are becoming smaller, faster and cheaper, and that the latest market step change of Mobile Mapping is already delivering exponential reductions in the time and cost of performing urban mapping and highway surveys.

The growing number of LiDAR applications is however leading to increased complexities of integrating and managing the huge volumes of data that these systems can quickly capture. This theme was taken up in the Key Note Address from Professor George Vosselman of the University of Twente who analysed the operating methods and benefits of the current LiDAR hardware and software systems.

Over the next two days, 42 world class technical papers from international presenters were delivered to the Conference covering the use of LiDAR across terrestrial, airborne and bathymetric market sectors, and a dedicated track examining the fast growing use of LiDAR in the mobile mapping market. This particular sector is rapidly developing because significant amounts of data is being captured in all European towns and cities as part of the global expansion of integrating mapping data into consumer mobile packages such as telephones.

A number of game changing technologies were announced and described, indicating the fast pace of change in this market. The papers reporting on recent applications and projects covered a wide range: Topcon, USA, described how it monitored a new lap record at the Silverstone, UK, motor racing circuit as part of capturing data for new video games; Fugro-BKS, UK, reported on the use of LiDAR in surveying archaeological sites, and FBK Trento, Italy, described the mapping of the vertical cliffs at the UNESCO World Heritage sites in The Dolomites. Back on the ground, Terratec of Norway set out its operations methodology and results from data collection of Tallinn for a 3D model being constructed of this medieval city; the 3D theme was also examined by TerraImaging of the Netherlands and GIM Geomatics of Italy. Laserdata of Austria examined use of mobile laser scanning for road infrastructure planning and GeoCue, USA, described its use of LiDAR to extract railroad features.

The Exhibits Hall was fully booked with 51 companies displaying their latest technologies and services, supported by very informative poster announcements. There were a series of LiDAR and associated systems workshop sessions available for all delegates to attend, and outside the arena there were seven mobile mapping vehicles parked alongside to view.

Despite the severe winter weather which arrived during the event, all the delegates enjoyed a really informative Conference and the social networking which is a feature trademark of the ELMF. The next ELMF is scheduled for November 29/30, 2011 in Salzburg, Austria.


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