Lidar unveils possible Honduran archaeological ruins

vsdnews06142012lidar

A team from the University of Houston (UH; Houston, TX, USA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM; Houston, TX, USA) has mapped a remote region of Honduras that may contain the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca.

The results mark the successful completion of the first light detection and ranging (lidar) survey of part of that country's Mosquitia region, one of the world's least-explored virgin rainforests.

An initial analysis of the lidar survey has identified ruins that could be those of Ciudad Blanca or other long-hidden sites. The information provides archaeologists with the precise locations of features within fractions of meters for further archaeological study.

UH professors Ramesh L. Shrestha and William E. Carter have been working with refining and applying airborne lidar to unveil the surface of the earth, primarily for earth scientists researching surface processes, for more than a decade.

In 2009, the UH researchers and a field team composed of Michael Sartori, Juan Fernandez-Diaz and Abhinav Singhania successfully mapped the Caracol archaeological site in Belize using airborne lidar.

The images collected were reduced and filtered to remove the vegetation and provide images of the terrain’s surface below the rainforest. Those images were then searched by eye to study geomorphological features as well as potential archaeological ruins.

Even though the site was covered with dense rainforest, the lidar data captured building ruins and agricultural terraces not discovered by archaeologists working on the ground for over 25 years.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

Webcasts

Applying 3D imaging to automation and robotics

With a focus on the use of 3D imaging in industrial automation and robotics, this webcast will begin by explaining exactly what 3D imaging encompasses and why the technique is important for industr...

Tips and techniques for improving OCR/OCV

Optical character recognition (OCR) and optical character verification (OCV) technologies offer many advantages in automation applications. They also involve some inherent challenges, which this we...
September 16, 2014

Making accurate measurements with machine vision software

In this webcast viewers will learn how to use machine vision to solve metrology tasks in factory automation and offline inspection applications. We will show how to choose the proper calibration an...
September 4, 2014

Choosing components for intelligent transportation systems

Intelligent transportation systems depend on the interoperation of sophisticated OEM components. This expert webcast will provide guidance on how to choose such components—including illumination sy...
July 22, 2014

Archives

Click here to view archived Vision Systems Design articles