The investment is part of APEM’s ambitious growth strategy, keeping up to date with advancements in technology and their application to support our clients with environmental consultancy needs.
LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is a highly accurate survey method that measures the distance to a target using laser light. A series of laser pulses are ‘fired’ and are reflected back to the sensor fitted to the aircraft when they hit an object.
By measuring the differences in laser return times, data received can be used to make 3D representations of the target in the form of a point cloud, a dataset that represents objects or space. Each point has an accurate X, Y, Z location associated with it and resolution is measured as point density.
APEM have been using LiDAR technology since 2018 and traditional applications have included topographic mapping, powerline mapping, forestry studies and construction phase monitoring, to name just a few.
When combined with a high resolution digital aerial survey it can be used to produce photo-realistic 3D models of the landscape, an example of which was commissioned by United Utilities last year. We have also deployed LiDAR as a method to map topography for a solar farm and wetland mapping for clients in the US.
The applications of LiDAR are extensive and the specialist aerial technicians at APEM who operate the systems are certified, ensuring that all health & safety standards and guidelines are met.
It is a truly versatile technology that APEM are continually finding new applications for. This includes using it to record bird flight heights as part of baseline surveys for offshore wind developments.
In 2018, APEM undertook trials that looked at how the technology and methodology used in a terrestrial setting could be applied and used to accurately measure the flight height of birds such as terns, gannets and kittiwakes over the sea.
The results gave APEM the confidence to apply this method for baseline surveys for pre consent, EIAs and post-construction monitoring. This approach has further advanced APEM’s global best practice in marine wildlife survey design, giving regulatory bodies and our clients peace of mind from the data and recommendations we deliver.