Scanning The Seas in South Florida:
RIEGL VQ-820-G Hydrographic Airborne Laser Scanning System Demo

From March 12th through March 16th, 2012, RIEGL carried out an extended bathymetric test with the new VQ-820-G hydrographic airborne laser scanning system in South Florida. With assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we invited interested parties to the demonstration to showcase the new scanner and to highlight its capabilities. The event also allowed the attendees the opportunity to meet RIEGL experts and to examine the remarkable aspects of the VQ-820-G.

The bathymetric demonstration took place over the course of a week in various locations of South Florida, including Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Key West. The basis of the operation was located at the Westin Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The new RIEGL VQ-820-G hydrographic airborne scanner was mounted in NOAA’s Twin Otter together with an aerial camera system and flew four test sites, not including the boresight calibration area in Tampa, Florida, at altitudes of 2000 feet and typical speeds of 100 knots. Throughout the tests,  10 to 15 points per square meter were acquired and ocean penetration was 5 to 10 meters under “normal” sea state circumstances or in other words, not perfect conditions.

Attendees were impressed by the simplicity of the integration, the installation, and the operation of the VQ-820-G, as well as the ease and speed of data processing.

The test also revealed excellent performance of the VQ820-G over shallow water areas, canals, shallow water ways, shorelines, buildings and land. We were able to achieve excellent coverage in areas where other current bathymetric technologies such as multibeam sonar systems, side scan sonar systems, and current bathymetric LiDAR systems could not get as good results.

The VQ-820-G achieved consistent results in less than perfect water conditions. In some areas we observed up to 10 m water penetration. We obtained excellent results especially in areas with dense vegetation. Due to the scanner’s multiple target capability, it is possible to discern water surface, bottom, and several returns coming from vegetation.

Martin Pfennigbauer, Director of Research at RIEGL and also product manager of the VQ-820-G, announced that the true range performance of the VQ-820-G to a 60% reflective surface is approximately 10,000 feet. Even more impressive is the laser pulse measurement rate is 550,000 shots per second. RIEGL also provides the complete suite of software to calibrate, acquire, process, georeference, and export the data.

“Altogether, the bathymetric test was a huge success, with the performance meeting or even exceeding our expectations. It was a pleasure to see the instrument doing so well under operational conditions.” stated Martin Pfennigbauer.

Applications for the RIEGL VQ-820-G include river bed profiling, coastline and shallow water mapping, habitat mapping, acquiring base data for flood prevention, measurement for aggradation zones, monitoring of hydraulics laboratories, surveying for hydraulic engineering, and hydro-archaeological surveying.

Find here more details and technical data of the RIEGL VQ-820-G

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  • vq-820-g waterways Fort Lauderdale Beach photo scan
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