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Augmenting rendered 3D point cloud models (LIDAR & FODAR) with analytically derived results (in this case vegetation clearance criteria/surfaces defining protected space for electric power transmission facilities) enhances communications capabilities needed for difficult to understand applications.

LIDAR, FODAR, and analytical results can be fused to afford diverse stakeholders a better, more consistent understanding of broad issues and their associated solutions.  The powerful attribute which allows the fusion of these three technical data types is commonality of geometry and geography within the scene of interest.  Each data type can be used alone with good results; but the fusion of these data types is powerful indeed - delivering augmented reality to the degree necessary and sufficient for the intended purpose.

The following two pictures illustrate a type of FODAR camera (WaldoAir) and its mounting on a fixed-wing aircraft.

FODAR (3D point clouds derived from photographic processes) is an excellent technology to use when enhanced communications products are required.  The following short YouTube video clips illustrate the use of rendered 3D FODAR point cloud scenes to depict actual, on-the-ground conditions.  The following "fly-thru"  illustrations show 3D rendered point cloud models that are geometrically and geographically correct.  When the video clip finishes playing, click the browser "back" arrow to return to the beginning.

FODAR is a convenient play on two words "photo" and "LIDAR" but with a twist:  spell it with an "F" instead of a "P".  The term "FODAR" was applied simultaneously (or very nearly simultaneously) by multiple providers of aerial remote sensing data who had worked primarily with aerial LIDAR point clouds while extracting the color from associated aerial photograhs to produce colored 3D LIDAR models for enhanced visualization.  (Such 3D colored LIDAR models are on display in the LIDAR section of this website.)  With the advancements of Structure-from-Motion (SfM) software, remote sensing innovators soon exploited the SfM capability to extract realistic color 3D point cloud models having a positional accuracy approaching that of aerial LIDAR.


Sensing a potential competitive (faster, better, cheaper) advantage in the use of SfM technology for the production of more appealing color 3D point cloud models, remote sensing innovators invented the term "FODAR" as a memorable marketing term capable of a) being related to LIDAR and b) competing with LIDAR for certain applications.  The following image illustrates the combination of FODAR data (trees and road surfaces) with LIDAR data (power poles and electrical conductors) to produce a more visually appealing 3D point cloud model - taking advantage of FODAR for its visual appeal and LIDAR for its better positional accuracy and detail.  Use the "right" technology with the "right" application.  It's as simple as that!

The power of fusing FODAR with LIDAR 3D point cloud data can be enhanced further by adding analytically derived point cloud data - the red, orange, and green clearance surface depicting the "clearance" criteria used to detect, locate, and map clearance violations associated with a particular electric power transmission line.  Other such applications are of equal value, at least - augmented reality.

​FODAR 

The following picture (right) illustrates another type of FODAR camera particularly well suited for capturing Structure-from-Motion digital imagery.  This camera (Synergy Geomatics) would be flown using piloted fixed-wing aircraft.

In the adjacent image, LIDAR data was chosen to depict the electric power facilities because the smaller, more slender facilities such as poles and conductors are better defined by LIDAR data; while the larger features are better defined using FODAR data.  Both types of data are depicted as being both geometrically and geographically correct in their own application.