QCoherent Software, a GeoCue Company
Welcome to LP360 News
by Lewis Graham, CTO GeoCue Group
It seems unbelievable that it is already the end of another year! As a great songwriter once said, “time is a jet plane…” As we wind down 2013, we are preparing to release LP360 version 2013.2, our final baseline release for 2013. This version of LP360 is a major update of the software that contains some very exciting and useful new features. As mentioned last month, we re-engineered the core of our Point Cloud Task (PCT) engine to allow chaining of tasks in Macros regardless of input and output data types. In prior versions of LP360, we could only chain tasks that modified points, not vectors (yes, I know, Point Cloud Task now might be a bit of a misnomer!). This new design, while very time consuming to construct, provides a solid framework for new tools that will appear in 2014 and beyond. Within the 2013.2 release, we have added two very powerful additions that make use of this new architecture.
Z Conflation allows you to compute a Z value for vector data from point clouds. While we have always had a Z conflation tool in LP360 for ArcGIS®, our PCT implementation of conflation adds the tool in a manner that allows it to be chained in a macro. This was necessary to support our new volumetric analysis tool. The second major addition is the ability to directly digitize points, lines and polygons from the PCT toolbar (via new drawing tools). This allows you to immediately draw 3D shapes without the need of pre-creating feature layers.
Volumetric Analysis allows you to perform volumetric computations using combinations of 3D polygons and point clouds. Of course, using the new conflation tools, the 3D polygons (for example, the “toe” of a stockpile volume computation) can be directly digitized using the PCT Conflate Polygon tool. This new analysis tool will let you directly compute the volume of a stockpile (or a pit) by simply digitizing a perimeter polygon. This is a very powerful feature for executing this common analysis task.
Interview with Chad Quinn, GIS Coordinator, City of O’Fallon Illinois
Tell me about the City of O’Fallon (size, location, things you like about it and you think are special…).
The City itself is less than 15 miles squared with a population of 28,281 as of the 2010 Census. We are located in the St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois. We are close neighbors to Scott Air Force Base, and as such have a large contingent of military and retired military citizens. Our citizens are highly educated, and knowledgeable about City services.
What are some of the challenges facing the city?
We have several City facilities and sites, scattered throughout the City and surrounding areas that require high speed networking infrastructure. Due to cost issues with buried Fiber optics, the City has pursued using radio-based air fiber connections. Since these connections require direct line of sight, we are frequently assessing our clearances to various locations. The City maintains water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and streets with a minimal full time staff. Early on, it became clear to the Director of Engineering and Public Works management, that our systems to monitor, control, and manage the system had to be highly automated in order for staff to function at peak efficiency. As such, our GIS, asset management, and utility locate systems are highly integrated with each other for accurate reporting as fast dispatching.
Describe the role of GIS for the city as well as your role.
GIS has grown to integrate into many aspects of government. Our asset management system uses GIS services and feature classes to tie requests for service and work orders directly to asset management system. Our utility locate requests are also processed through our assets management system through a GIS-centric system. Last year, our public safety division upgraded their dispatch and data analysis systems to a GIS-centric workflow. Our fire department uses a mobile application to create fire pre-plans – having up-to-date information is important for public safety to accurately route and respond to incidents. We track our water and sewer utilities through systems that utilize GIS. Our Community Development department, formerly Planning and Zoning, uses GIS to track zoning and comprehensive plan changes, along with linking specific enabling ordinances directly to the GIS features.
Also, we have enabled most of our services to the public through our publicmaps.ofallon.org REST directory. This allows general citizens with the ability to consume map services directly, without the need for a data download request and guaranteeing our most accurate, freshest data is available. For developers, we have these services so that a business partner can easily integrate our GIS data and infrastructure into their project. The idea is that the City will be returned a better product if everyone has the most up-to-date information.
Figure 1 - LIDAR layer integrated into GIS environment, using Line of Sight tool
How is LIDAR important to the city?
LIDAR became important to the city early last year. There are several large building projects underway with the City, as well as street and water runoff studies that we wanted to analyze in some depth and with precision. Our portion of Illinois is fairly flat, so it was important to get ground contours at 6 inch intervals, with good accuracy.
What prompted the city to obtain LIDAR data?
Engineering need for LIDAR derived contours and terrain, plus the ability to derive a digital elevation model that could be used for engineering analysis and reporting. Looking ahead, we realized that with a highly accurate LIDAR point cloud, we could derive other products such as rooftop footprints for buildings, impervious surface slopes, and ground water runoff analysis. We were surprised that there was even more and valuable data to extract.
You recently purchased LP360. What are some of the reasons you selected LP360?
LP360 has complimentary integration into Esri ArcGIS was a major benefit. The tools are familiar to a GIS professional familiar with Esri’s ArcGIS applications. Also, the clear speed by which the LP360 product can display whole area TIN, point cloud, and even overlay GIS data on LIDAR points is a compelling factor in its favor. Another factor is that the toolset allowed intuitive classification and had a good breadth of features. Lastly, the tools seemed to enable a user to focus on the task at hand, without a complicated set of parameters to know. This allows more casual users easier access to the product.
How are you currently using LP360 in you GIS work?
We have derived contour intervals for engineering; we use the derived terrain for storm water runoff analysis and engineering purposes. We have a derived terrain dataset that we use for ground analysis, and use the full point cloud data for presentation maps.
Figure 2 - Graphic from water runoff analysis
We also have made major use with the line of sight tools.
Figure 3 - Results of Line of Sight analysis
If you could have one improvement in LP360 what would it be?
The ability to easily port LIDAR point cloud information, and DEM, TIN, and other derived products into a map service. I understand that LP360 has a server product, and we intend to look more into this application in the near future.
Chad Quinn has worked to provide geographic information systems (GIS) within local governments for the past 18 years. He has been serving the City of O’Fallon, Illinois for the past two years as GIS Coordinator. He currently works to augment and inform needs of the local community, including utilizing a high resolution dataset of LiDAR data that covers the City proper. From this data, Chad analyzes data such as line of sight paths for radio fiber connection, creates derived products for road topography and ground contours for engineering use, and uses LiDAR for building footprint extraction. When not leveraging the power of GIS and LiDAR, Chad enjoys spending time with his wife and six children.
Did You Know?
By Darrick Wagg, Support Services Manager
¿Sabes que LP360 es disponible en español ahora?
LP360 will be available in Spanish with the release of 2013.2. Users wishing to get a preview of this capability may download the latest Experimental release which will soon be posted. Not only is LP360 available in Spanish, but Japanese as well - including two-byte characters! In fact, our LP360 development team has been busy over the past year laying the underpinnings to enable the internationalization of LP360. This has been a huge undertaking, but the benefits will be immense for our global user base. Once a language is included in the software, it will automatically be used by the program when the operating system language is set to one of the supported languages, otherwise English will continue to be utilized.
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ILMF Presentations, Lewis Graham, CTO GeoCue Group:
GeoCue User Group Meeting
Check the Webinar Schedule for more upcoming webinars.
Check us out on YouTube...
Using Base Maps in ArcGIS
by Lewis Graham, CTO GeoCue Group
Did you know that Base Maps are available in ArcMap 10.1 and 10.2? You can use this feature to display a backdrop image or road map, providing context for LIDAR data processing (see Figure 1). This is a coal pile area at the Tennessee Valley Authorities’ (TVA) Widows Creek fossil fuel generation facility near Stevenson, Alabama on the Tennessee River.
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