Soldiers to get 3-D maps in near-real-time

March 31, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Masthead
An example of how the Masthead UrbanISTAR system can map a building. Credit: General Dynamics UK Limited.

In the near future, soldiers may be using maps that are more akin to long-range but highly accurate security cameras: the maps will enable troops to see both the exterior and interior of buildings, as well as streets and larger areas, as they appeared just minutes ago.

The technology, designed by General Dynamics UK Limited, is called Masthead and is part of the company's UrbanISTAR concept. The company plans to debut the urban intelligence system this week at the SOFEX 2008 exhibition in Amman, Jordan.

The system uses infrared laser technology known as LIDAR (Light Intensity Direction and Ranging). By combining LIDAR sensors with thermal imaging and X-ray backscatter techniques, the General Dynamics researchers can fuse the data from these systems to create near-real-time 3-D pictures of buildings and streets. With the addition of radar, the system could even detect objects and people inside buildings.

All this equipment is carried in the back of a military vehicle, undercover civilian 4x4, or even a plane, as it drives or flies through an area. As the vehicle moves forward, the LIDAR system scans the scene with the infrared laser, measuring the distance to objects and creating a 3-D map.

With the map, troops could plan urban operations, identify targets, and determine the best routes to take when approaching terrorist sites. Soldiers could virtually walk through buildings to rehearse operations. Since the LIDAR system provides measurements of doors, windows, and alleys with millimeter accuracy, the technology could even be used for the targeting of weapons. Such maps would be much more useful than outdated conventional maps or 2-D aerial images.

"You can utilize [the Masthead system] in any number of ways," according to a recent article in Dynamics, the company´s quarterly publication. "You can, for example, employ it like the worlds created in a computer game to ´walk´ through the scene, perhaps to understand what can be seen from a particular doorway or window. ... The key thing is that the data underlying the map is only minutes old."

In addition to combat applications, the system could also be used for civilian applications. For example, a police force could use the technology when planning security measures for an upcoming event at a large sports stadium, determining the best evacuation routes in the case of an emergency.

More information: www.GeneralDynamics.uk.com

via: Defense News

Explore further: Meet Lidar: the amazing laser technology that's helping archaeologists discover lost cities

Related Stories

Underground fungi detected from space

May 3, 2016

Just as a person's skin indicates if s/he has a healthy diet, colored satellite images of forests in the Smithsonian's Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) indicate if a forest has a healthy diet. Information about ...

Lasers uncover hidden secrets of Cambodia's ancient cities

June 12, 2016

Unprecedented new details of medieval cities hidden under jungle in Cambodia near Angkor Wat have been revealed using lasers, archaeologists said Sunday, shedding new light on the civilisation behind the world's largest religious ...

Mobile LIDAR technology expanding rapidly

March 15, 2013

(Phys.org) —Imagine driving down a road a few times and obtaining in an hour more data about the surrounding landscape than a crew of surveyors could obtain in months.

LiDAR technology reveals faults near Lake Tahoe

May 24, 2012

Results of a new U.S. Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake ...

Recommended for you

How to build a 1,000mph car (by the scientists behind it)

July 22, 2016

It was a staggering feat, a car that went faster than the speed of sound. On October 15 1997, Andy Green travelled across the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, in the Thrust SSC at 763.035 mph, or Mach 1.02. Two decades on, that ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

earls
not rated yet Mar 31, 2008
Wall-hacking cheaters! Looks like reality is finally catching up to the movies.

I like how they use multiple spectrums. I see a lot of promise in the technique, now only to shrink the equipment down and make the processing faster...
superhuman
not rated yet Mar 31, 2008
I also see applications in corporate espionage.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.