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Collecting Data With LiDar, UAVs/Drones and lots of Little Satellites

Hello Geogeeks,

This month's GeoMeetup will be centered around collecting data... we will touch on drones, LiDar and lots of little satellites! We have three great speakers.


Talk #1 - LiDAR

Velodyne's Director of Sales & Marketing, Wolfgang Juchmann will be presenting Velodyne's unique real-time, 3D LiDAR sensors popular for Mobile Mapping mounted on terrestrial, maritime and airborne platforms.With 32/64 lasers and detectors spinning at up to 20Hz, point clouds of a 360º environment can measure distance and reflectivities at a rate of 1.3M data points per second. The multiple beam and detector configuration not only enhances the data capturing rate to one of the fastest commercially on the market, but also allows measuring geo-spatial objects from different angles thereby minimizing shadows and dead spots. The calibrated reflectivity data allows for easy detection of retro-reflectors like street-signs, lane-markings and license plates.Wolfgang's presentation will introduce the advantages of Velodyne's sensors paired with real life examples based on customer experiences in the world of mapping, autonomous driving and even for security and surveillance applications.

Wolfgang Juchmann, Ph.D., Director of Sales & Marketing - Velodyne

Wolfgang Juchmann has more than 14 years of international experience in technical sales, product management, and marketing of industrial lasers and optical products for a variety of applications. The combination of Juchmann’s technical background, commercial experiences, and his passion for customer satisfaction are unique factors that enable him to profitably lead new product developments for Velodyne's LiDAR division as well as manage existing product portfolios with an intimate awareness for the customer's expectations.

Talk #2 - Drones for Mapping

Closed-Loop Farming

Agricultural productivity on modern farms is often below 50%. One of the contributing factors to low farm efficiency is lack of data. Planting, irrigation, disease, and harvest problems affecting ultimate crop yield are not detected early enough, while precautionary measure are often taken in the absence of real time crop health data. Accurate georeferenced aerial imagery presents an opportunity to diagnose problems early on, as well as inform decisions to be made in the next planting cycle. Existing manned solutions however are expensive and provide infrequent feedback as a result.  

With the advent of commercially available unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), farms can now have access to low-cost, frequent, and accurate aerial imagery. Generating an accurate aerial map requires a tightly integrating aircraft dynamics, mission planning, camera settings, image mosaicing, and data analysis. This talk will explore the implications of closing the loop on farms by feeding back frequent and accurate aerial imagery and the consequences for end farm yield.

Brandon Basso - Senior Research and Development Engineer at 3D Robotics

Brandon Basso earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering and currently serves as Senior Research and Development Engineer at 3D Robotics. While at Berkeley, he was a member of the Center for Collaborative Control of Unmanned Vehicles under the direction of Karl Hedrick. His research involved controlling teams of small UAVs performing collaborative search/track tasks. At 3D Robotics, Brandon is developing aerial mapping solutions with autonomous fixed-wing and multirotor aircraft.  The solutions are targeted at the agricultural industry for the purpose of increasing farm yield by providing farmers with accurate aerial imagery for crop analysis.

Talk #3 - Micro-Satellites


Online mapping portals have introduced consumers and engineers to geospatial data, the problem is that this data is old and new satellite image data is expensive.Skybox Imaging is on the verge of launching the first of our imaging satellites. This talk will introduce the image data that the satellites will deliver, demo some example applications that enable data driven decisions on a world scale.

Oliver Guinan - VP of Ground Software at Skybox Imaging

Oliver Guinan is Vice President of Ground Software at Skybox Imaging. He leads a team that creates systems to process large quantities of geospatial data and control a constellation of imaging satellites. Oliver previously worked in Yahoo's Media Group, on a number of projects, including re-engineering the platform that manages all content for Yahoo News, Sports and Finance. 

Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Location:  NextSpace Union Square
1 Hallidie Plaza, 2nd Floor (Market & 5th Street), San Francisco, CA

As always beer and pizza will be provided (thank you ESRI!)

Hope to see you there!

- Ragi

Join or login to comment.

  • Brandon B.

    I had a great time, thanks Ragi for organizing! Does anyone know where the video will be posted?

    2 · August 26, 2013

  • Laci V.

    #geomeetup just keeps getting better.

    August 26, 2013

  • Robin K.

    Yet another great meetup!

    August 26, 2013

  • Daniel F.

    What a treat. Live LiDar, UAV's and sensible satellites. Thank you Ragi and ESRI, Wolfgang, Brandon and Ollie, for putting something wonderful together with such interesting actual and future potential. Given the LiDar presence, recommend a look at LAStools ( for point cloud processing.

    1 · August 23, 2013

  • reuben p.

    great presentations

    August 23, 2013

  • Jeffrey M.

    This was a great meetup. Enjoyed all of the talks and meeting such other geo-geeks. Wish we would have had more time!

    August 23, 2013

  • John V.

    Great Line up! The LiDAR preso was amazing.

    August 23, 2013

  • John K.

    YAGLUP! Yet another great line up. Thanks.

    1 · August 23, 2013

  • Kenji K.

    Stuck at work and won't be able to make it. :( I've unRSVP'd.

    August 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi: at the last minute something came up and cannot go. I just changed my RSVP so someone else can join. :)

    1 · August 22, 2013

  • Ben H.

    Instrumentation Engineer @ Planet Labs

    1 · August 22, 2013

  • Chris N.

    re: closed loop farming, definitely interested in any end-end target pricing, compared to things like , RapidEye, etc. Given price margins on commodity crops, gotta be *cheap* ...

    August 21, 2013

  • Stoney V.

    cannot make it.

    August 17, 2013

    • Ragi B.

      Bummer. I still have the case from the photo you gave me. I'll bring them next time then

      August 21, 2013

    • Stoney V.

      I will probably make it to a geo breakfast in early september

      August 21, 2013

  • Chris N.

    Definitely interested in Crisismapping variants, particularly for flood scenarios.... i.e. things that can get through customs and ITAR restrictions in airports, and fly low/slow under the clouds in the rain

    Having a helluva time getting things out of the folks during the holiday season...

    August 12, 2013

    • Ragi B.

      I am sure you will find plenty of folks that share your interest.

      August 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Ragi,

    It's Ray from Endpoint Environmental. I am really looking forward to this meetup if spots become available. It will be nice to meet you in person after all the emails and conference calls. Thanks,


    1 · August 15, 2013

    • Ragi B.

      Yeah, same here!

      August 21, 2013

  • John M.

    I'm heading out of town Thursday ... I'll pass my spot to someone else. Have a good time.

    August 19, 2013

  • David L.

    Great topic!

    August 6, 2013

  • Suzanne

    Can't make it to SF that early unfortunately.

    August 5, 2013

  • Daniel F.

    Will change RSVP if something comes up to prevent my attendance.

    1 · August 5, 2013

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