NUVIEW Seeks to Map Earth’s Surface with Lidar

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NUVIEW, an Earth observation and geopspatial technology company, has secured $1.2 billion in early adopter agreements as the company emerges from stealth. The financing supports the company’s quest to build what it says will be the first commercial lidar satellite constellation that will map the entire land surface of Earth in 3D.

The company’s commercial satellites are designed to use lidar to perform annual mapping of the planet’s land surface. 

According to NUVIEW, the collection of lidar data from space via a constellation of satellites presents an advantage over airplane- and drone-based methods, due to the more efficient and comprehensive collection capabilities of satellites. Satellite-based lidar systems, the company says, will enable the capture of data from the most remote and inaccessible areas on a global scale, beyond the reach of aircraft.

Specifically, NUVIEW’s satellite, sensor, and software technology aims to produce high-quality, accurate data with application potential across industries including environmental science, infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, and mapping. Current satellite imagery provides only a 2D view of the planet, with only an estimated 5% of Earth’s landmass having been mapped by lidar. The limited depth and accuracy of today’s satellite imagery restrict its utility for solving challenges in disaster response, sustainable farming, conservation, combating climate change, and forestry.

NUVIEW’s constellation of satellites will collect data more than 100× faster than current commercial aerial solutions in an “always on” approach. According to NUVIEW, its capabilities will allow it to unlock an addressable geospatial market that is expected to grow to a $1.7 trillion industry. The technology’s high-resolution 3D point cloud data will enable farmers to optimize crop yields and water usage. City planners, the company said, can create more efficient and sustainable urban environments. Further, the technology’s digital terrain models and digital surface models support opportunities for collaboration with electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar satellite operators.

The company’s leadership team includes acclaimed lidar and ladar innovator Paul McManamon, who serves as chief science officer.

Published: May 2023
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
1. In optics, one of the exterior faces of an optical element. 2. The process of grinding or generating the face of an optical element.
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