2020 Virtual Content - 2021 Dates Coming Soon

2019 University Lightning Round


Learn about the exceptional achievements, within the realm of lidar technology, coming out of universities in the 2019 University Lightning Round. Gain insight into future advancements and help decide the winners along with of a panel of expert judges. Participants are listed below.

Ferris State University

Speaker: Sagar Deshpande

Bio: Dr. Sagar Deshpande has earned his Ph.D. and Master of Geodetic Science degrees from the Ohio State University (OSU). He is a registered Professional Surveyor, Professional Engineer, Certified Photogrammetrist, and Certified GIS Professional. Dr. Deshpande has over 13 years of experience in Surveying, GIS, and Photogrammetry. 

University Description: The Surveying Program at Ferris State University was established in 1958. It is the largest undergraduate Surveying engineering program in the Midwest and one of the largest in the U.S. The program offers the following: BS in Surveying Engineering, AAS in Surveying Technology, and certificates in Surveying, GIS, and Hydrographic mapping. The Bachelor of Science in Surveying Engineering is approved and recognized by the Michigan State Board of Licensing for Professional Surveyors and is also accredited by ABET. Students graduating from the bachelor’s program after appropriate work experience are eligible to take the professional surveyor and the professional engineer examinations.

The Surveying Engineering Department has educated surveyors for more than fifty years and has provided diverse employment opportunities with large and small private surveying and mapping firms; federal, state and local governmental agencies globally. The program offers over $20,000 in annual scholarships.

Hasso Plattner Institute

Speakers: Soeren Discher and Rico Richter

Bios: Sören Discher studied computer science at the University of Potsdam and the Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany where he is currently working as a research scientist. His research interests include scalable GPU-centric processing and analysis techniques as well as real-time rendering, visualization and interaction techniques for large-scale 3D point clouds on both desktop computers and mobile devices.

Rico Richter has many years of experience in the development of complex processing, analysis and visualization techniques for 3D spatial data. He studied IT Systems Engineering at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany and has written his PhD thesis entitled “Concepts and Techniques for Processing and Rendering of Massive 3D Point Clouds” in 2018.

University Description: Today, landscapes, cities, and infrastructure networks are commonly captured using LiDAR or image-based remote sensing technologies at regular intervals. The resulting 3D point clouds are digital twins of the captured surfaces and provide valuable information. Consequently, 3D point clouds have become essential for a growing number of applications, such as urban planning, environmental monitoring, and disaster management.

The data acquisition workflow itself, whether by air (e.g., plane, helicopter, UAV), sea (e.g., boat), or land (e.g., car, train, stationary scanners) is well established and generates highly detailed 3D point clouds with several terabytes of data. However, the management, analysis and presentation of those data sets still pose challenges because existing GIS are often limited by processing strategies and storage capabilities that generally do not scale for massive 3D point clouds.

We present a web portal designed to manage, analyze, and distribute large-scale 3D point clouds. It provides efficient means for an interactive and collaborative exploration and inspection on client devices with different computing capabilities. Point-based rendering techniques and post-processing effects are provided to enable task-specific and data-specific filtering and highlighting. A set of interaction techniques allows users to collaboratively work with the data, e.g., by measuring, annotating, or triggering analytics tasks for arbitrary data subsets. These tasks include for example: (1) Classification and change detection for urban areas captured with airborne LiDAR or image-matching. (2) Classification and asset detection for 3D point clouds from mobile mapping. (3) Analytics for 3D point clouds from UAVs to monitor vegetation and construction sites.

University of Houston

Speaker: Andrea Albright

Bio: Andrea Albright is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Houston in the Geosensing Systems Engineering Graduate Program. She has an M.S. in Oceanography from Oregon State University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Grinnell College. She is a 2018 fellow of the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Program.

University Description: NCALM (National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping) is based at the University of Houston and is operated in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The center is supported by the National Science Foundation and is associated with the multi-disciplinary Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences graduate program at the University of Houston.The mission of NCALM is to:

(1) Provide research-quality airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) observations to the scientific community.
(2) Advance the state of the art in airborne laser mapping.
(3) Train and educate graduate students with knowledge of airborne mapping to meet the needs of academic institutions, government agencies, and private industry.

University of Kentucky

Speakers: Brad Rister, Levi McIntosh, and Eileen Grady

Bios: Brad Rister: Brad Rister is the Program Manager for the Pavement, Materials, Geotechnology, and Infrastructure Assessment program at the Kentucky Transportation Center. His primary research interest is in applying remote sensing technologies as a non-destructive tool to aid in the design, construction, and maintenance phases of transportation projects.

 Levi McIntosh: Levi McIntosh is an Engineering Technician with the Pavement, Materials, Geotechnology, and Infrastructure Assessment program at the Kentucky Transportation Center. His research areas include pipe and laser inspections, GPR, CAD, Lidar scanning, coring, and pavement distress surveys.

Eileen Grady: Eileen Grady is a research scientist with the Pavement, Materials, Geotechnology, and Infrastructure Assessment program at the Kentucky Transportation Center. Her primary research interests include GIS and LiDAR. She holds a BA in Geography and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Mapping from the University of Kentucky and is pursuing a Master of Science in Digital Mapping.

University Description: Many safety hazards on our roadways that cause accidents are often imperceptible and difficult to measure. The Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky has discovered several innovative applications for using mobile LiDAR to mitigate such highway safety hazards. One such application has been in evaluating areas known for accidents during wet weather events. According to data from the Kentucky State Police crash database, 20% of all highway accidents in the past 5 years occurred during wet weather events and over 1800 accidents cited “water standing or moving” as a contributing factor. “Water standing or moving” can be deciphered as an area where the pavement design is inadequate during intense rainfall events, which may create conditions known to cause hydroplaning. Through the use of our mobile mapping system we are able to re-create a highly detailed roadway surface allowing us to analyze slope and drainage patterns that could be problematic for vehicles during such rainfall events. Another application of mobile LiDAR to improve highway safety has been in locating and quantifying lane differential settlement on concrete pavements. Substantial lane differential settlement poses a hazard to vehicles, and particularly to motorcyclists, when changing lanes. A scan of the affected roadway with our mobile mapping system, along with our innovative processing techniques, allows us to isolate these areas of differential settlement and provide the location and approximate quantities of settlement to assist in remediation efforts.

University of Maryland, College Park

Speaker: Jonathan Resop

Bio: Jonathan Resop is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland. Jonathan earned his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in Biological Systems Engineering. During his time at Virginia Tech, he worked on multiple projects related to spatial 

University Description: University of Maryland’s Master of Professional Studies & Graduate Certificate Programs in GIS and Geospatial Intelligence are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date training on geospatial technology, theory, and applications.


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