A Resource for LiDAR Data Sales: LiDARDATA.COM

By Directions Staff

There's no question that interest in and demand for 3D data are growing. That led one provider to launch a site where geospatial professionals can find, rent and buy LiDAR sensors and related resources. The logical next step? A site for selling LiDAR and other data. Directions Magazine interviewed Bryant Bertrand, the director of LiDARDATA.COM, about the history, current status and future of the site.

Directions Magazine (DM): How did LiDARDATA.COM start? What was the goal?

Bryant Bertrand (BB):
Airborne 1 created LiDARDATA.COM as a spin-off of our LiDARXCHANGE, the world’s first online Resource Exchange tool for geospatial professionals. The LiDARXCHANGE program allows participants the opportunity to post, view, rent, purchase and (eventually) track the location of available LiDAR sensors and related resources across the globe.

The success of the LiDARXCHANGE program led to the development of LIDARDATA.COM as a secondary market for data collected by LiDARXCHANGE members. The overall goal was to create an additional revenue stream opportunity for members through data resale opportunities.

Data offered on LiDARDATA.COM can be used for 3D city models, such as this image captured from San Francisco GIS data.. (Click for larger image)

DM: Who contributes to the data repository?

Technically, any data provider can contribute to the repository, and they are not restricted to submitting LiDAR data - any format of GIS data is welcome. It is advantageous for data providers to join LiDARXCHANGE, however, as we offer enhanced benefits and better revenue-sharing for all existing LiDARXCHANGE members. Currently there are more than 25 private and government entities supplying data to LIDARDATA.COM.

DM: Who are LiDARDATA.COM's customers?

The customers range from the typical end users of survey data – photogrammetrists, surveyors, architects and engineers — to nontraditional entities, such as movie and video game producers, who use existing 3D data to help with visualization and special effects.

This image is a screenshot of Toronto LiDAR data, offered on LiDARDATA.COM and collected by Airborne 1. (Click for larger image)

DM: These are large datasets. How are they delivered?

Typically we will deliver data as small as 1kmX1km, but we let the participating community decide the limit restrictions. It’s a free marketplace dictated by the participants and providers. Data can be delivered on DVD media or via a portable hard drive.

DM: What services are offered for data providers and data buyers now?

Data providers are able to post their areas of coverage in a KMZ file and have a free marketing arm for potential data resale. The data buyers get the flexibility of acquiring data at a reduced cost, with a quicker turnaround time than a new collection.

DM: What's planned for the future?

In the future, we will release a data portal that will enable the data viewer to be loaded on any participating member’s Web page. The data portal will allow users to market all existing data to their customers. The member will act as point of sale for any data orders. This tool offers greater flexibility to our members and an opportunity to resell other existing members' datasets.

Published Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Written by Directions Staff

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