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  • Unlocking Drone Compatibility: ROCK Robotic's Universal Mount for the R3 Pro LiDAR

    ROCK has an exciting announcement that will transform your mapping operations — the R3 Pro LiDAR now works with any drone! No more limitations, a lot more options. Read the article to learn more about the new ROCK Universal Mount and see it in action on the Freefly Systems Astro drone. Unleashing the Power of LiDAR LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology has significantly advanced the field of surveying and mapping. Its ability to generate highly accurate 3D models of terrain, structures, and environments has been a game-changer for various industries such as agriculture, forestry, construction, and environmental monitoring. However, to truly unlock the potential of aerial LiDAR and the ROCK R3 Pro (previously only compatible with the DJI M300 & DJI M350), a reliable and efficient mounting system is crucial. This is where the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount steps in, designed to seamlessly integrate with the R3 Pro LiDAR. Introducing the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount The ROCK Universal Mount is a state-of-the-art mounting solution designed for optimal integration with the R3 Pro LiDAR system. This mount is engineered with precision and durability in mind, ensuring stability and accurate LiDAR data capture during flight. Also included is a high-quality LEMO to XT60 Cable for seamless connectivity. Here are the Key Features: 1. Compatibility: The ROCK Universal Mount is specifically designed to work with any drone that can handle the LiDAR payload. There is also a kit specifically for the Freefly Astro drone, providing a seamless integration that ensures stability and accuracy during LiDAR mapping missions. 2. Versatility: This mount is adaptable to various drones, making it versatile for a range of mapping applications. Its universal design enables easy attachment and detachment, allowing you to use it with multiple drone models effortlessly. 3. Robust Construction: Crafted from high-quality materials, the ROCK Universal Mount is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor usage. It ensures your LiDAR equipment is securely mounted and protected throughout the mapping process. 4. Stability & Precision: With a focus on stability, this mount minimizes vibrations and movements during flight, resulting in highly precise LiDAR data collection. Achieve the level of accuracy you need for your mapping projects. Click here to learn more about the R3 Pro's accuracy. Pairing with Freefly Astro Drone The Freefly Astro drone is a fantastic platform for aerial data collection. Its exceptional stability, flight capabilities, and payload capacity make it an ideal match for the Universal Drone Mount and the R3 Pro LiDAR. Not to mention it is NDAA compliant. Together, they form a powerful tool for efficient and accurate LiDAR mapping. Click HERE to see the ROCK Universal Mount in action on the Freefly Astro drone! Elevate Your Mapping Experience Incorporate the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount for the R3 Pro LiDAR with the Freefly Astro drone into your mapping workflow and take your projects to new heights. Experience enhanced accuracy, efficiency, and reliability in LiDAR data collection, providing valuable insights for your business. Elevate the way you map, survey, and analyze with ROCK Robotic and Freefly Systems. Contact us today to learn more about the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount and how it can transform your LiDAR mapping business!

  • ROCK SLAM LiDAR with the R3 Pro: A Comprehensive Guide

    Discover the Future of LiDAR Mapping: ROCK SLAM! In this guide, we'll walk you through how-to operate the R3 Pro in SLAM mode and share some valuable tips on capturing high-quality data. Join us as we explore the setup process, best practices for data capture, and a sneak peek into the advanced features coming to the ROCK Cloud and ROCK Desktop processing software. Let's get started! Assembling the ROCK SLAM Kit To begin, assemble the SLAM kit by removing the camera from the R3 Pro and attaching it to the SLAM dock. Secure the camera by screwing it into place. Connect the limo cable to the SLAM dock, ensuring the red dot aligns with the device's marking. Connect the other end of the cable to the battery bank for power. Proper Data Capture Techniques To obtain high-quality SLAM data, follow these essential techniques: Keep the LiDAR sensor above your head to avoid casting laser beams towards your face and body. Move the sensor slowly and steadily during data capture to minimize motion blur. Perform 'Loop Closures' during data capture by doubling back on the same path or walking in loops. This corrects for any drift in the data set and improves accuracy. Capturing Data Power on the R3 Pro by clicking the button once, and wait for the solid green light to indicate readiness. To start capturing data, Click the button once, let go, and then hold it down for five seconds then release. The light should blink red and green. Once it turns solid green, the device will start quietly beeping notifying you that the device is capturing data. Tips for Data Capture When navigating stairs, angle the LiDAR sensor down while ascending and angle it backward while descending. This ensures perpendicular data capture on the stairs for superior results. When transitioning between rooms, ensure all doors are open and walk slowly to maintain data continuity. Capture data at the room's opening before moving into the next room. Uploading & Processing Data on ROCK Cloud After data capture is complete, repeat the single button steps to stop data capture. Remove the provided USB from the R3 Pro and proceed to upload the data directly to the ROCK Cloud for processing. Define the Coordinate Reference System (CRS) as "SLAM Meters" and upload the data folder. Click "Save" and order the SLAM processing, which is currently free and unlimited. Click here to view the ROCK SLAM example dataset on the ROCK Cloud! Upcoming Features & Enhancements The future holds exciting advancements for ROCK SLAM. Soon, users will have access to GCP alignment, allowing the integration of Ground Control Points (GCPs) for increased accuracy. A new SLAM dock version, the SLAM Dock 2.0, will boast a 360-camera for colorized SLAM and GPS capabilities, elevating data capture to new heights. Conclusion ROCK SLAM on the R3 Pro offers a powerful solution for capturing precise and detailed data. By following proper data capture techniques and utilizing upcoming enhancements, users can maximize the potential of this innovative technology. We encourage you to join the Rock Robotics community for support, discussions, and updates on all things SLAM and beyond. Stay tuned for more tutorials and exciting features on the horizon! Want to get in on the ROCK SLAM action? Just schedule a meeting with a ROCK Expert to get started!

  • How-To Perform Calibration Flight for ROCK R3 Pro, R360, & R2A

    Are you ready to master the calibration flight for your ROCK R3 Pro, R360, or R2A? In this informative guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process to ensure precise and accurate data collection every time. Let's get started! 1. Turning on the LiDAR and Data Recording Start by turning on the LiDAR unit. Initiate data recording by clicking the record button once and then clicking and holding it. This will activate the data collection process. 2. Waiting for 30 Seconds Allow the system to record static data for a minimum of 30 seconds. The LiDAR lights will blink green during this process, indicating that data collection is in progress. 3. Engaging the Props and Taking Off Move away from the drone and engage the propellers by pushing down and inward on the controller. Gently ascend the drone by pushing up on the left joystick. 4. High-Speed Kinematic Alignment Once you've reached your desired altitude, perform a high-speed kinematic alignment. Push forward on the right joystick and maintain this speed for five seconds. 5. Flying the Figure Eight Pattern After the alignment, use both joysticks to fly a figure eight pattern. Push the right joystick forward and the left joystick to the right to create a loop. Then, reverse the pattern by pushing the left joystick forward and the right joystick to the right. 6. Landing the Drone Once you've completed the figure eight, land the drone by descending slowly. Use the left joystick to control the descent until the propellers are disengaged completely. 7. Recording Static Data (Again) After landing, wait for 30 seconds (up to a minute) and record static data once more to conclude the calibration flight. You can extend this period to get a more robust and localized data set. 8. Turning off the LiDAR Data Collection Finally, turn off the LiDAR data collection by pressing the record button once and then clicking and holding it again. Remember, this calibration process is crucial for obtaining accurate data during your mission. While our ROCK Pilot app automates many of these tasks, having the skills to control the drone manually is valuable. Practice the calibration flight a few times to become proficient, and you'll be all set to tackle your aerial missions with confidence. Happy flying! Visit now and experience the best technology in aerial data collection.

  • ROCK R3 Pro Accuracy Case Study: Airport Runway Mapping

    Hey there, Harrison here, otherwise known as Indiana Drones. Today, we're diving deep into an exciting and enlightening accuracy case study conducted using our very own, the game-changing, ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR camera and the unbeatable ROCK Cloud software. Introduction to the ROCK R3 Pro and ROCK Cloud Firstly, let's take a moment to appreciate the gear that makes it all happen. The ROCK R3 Pro is our advanced LiDAR camera built specifically for drones, handheld SLAM, and mobile LiDAR mapping. Combining robust construction, top-tier tech, and pinpoint accuracy, it's a dream tool for geospatial professionals. Complementing the R3 Pro is our best-in-class LiDAR processing tool - ROCK Cloud. It allows you to convert, visualize, analyze, and share your LiDAR data with a user-friendly interface, streamlining data processing and enhancing productivity. Now, on to the case study. Why an Airport Runway? Airports runways - flat, open, and obstruction-free. These unique characteristics make them the perfect testing ground to assess the accuracy of our LiDAR system. The absence of buildings, vegetation, and other disturbances enables the ROCK R3 Pro to work its magic, capturing and detailing every nuance with flawless precision. So, we decided to put our gear to the test on an expansive airport runway. The Experimental Setup For this study, we configured the drone to hover at an altitude of 50 meters Above Ground Level (AGL). This height is optimal for obtaining the finest level of detail while maintaining coverage efficiency. Moreover, we set a 50% flight line overlap, ensuring comprehensive data collection. To collect RTK check shots, we employed an EMLID Reach RS2 Base and Rover pair, conveniently set up over a nearby NGS monument. However, today's workflows can be even more streamlined using a local Rock Base and our ROCK RTK network. Thanks to this setup, we gathered an impressive 172 check shots, each boasting an astonishingly low error range of just 0.03 feet! Digging Deeper: The LiDAR Data Analysis Having gathered the data, it was time to uncover the stories they held. We started by importing the raw point cloud into the ROCK Cloud for processing and analysis. After adding the 178 RTK Check shots we quickly verified the alignment with a visual inspection. This way we can see the features in the intensity view and compare them to the RTK shot. Accuracy Report: Vertical Precision that Astounds First up was the Accuracy Report. Here, we zeroed in on the vertical accuracies. The image below visualizes the impressive results of this analysis. The statistics are simply staggering! Here's a snapshot of the numbers: Point Density: A high-resolution 38 points per sq ft Coverage: A sweeping 53 Acres Standard Deviation in Elevation Delta: A minimal 0.034 ft Mean Delta in Elevation: A near-zero 0.001 ft However, the absolute showstopper here is the Vertical Accuracy (RMS), which came out to be a staggering 0.034 ft! Yes, our eyes popped too! This figure is a striking testament to the unparalleled accuracy and reliability of the ROCK R3 Pro, with an incredibly low variance between the LiDAR data and the RTK check shots. I mean, just take a look at how consistent the data from the R3 Pro looks just the the naked eye. The quality is, dare I say, as good as a terrestrial scanner on a tripod! Strip Alignment: The Age of LiDAR 2.0 Next up was Strip Alignment. In the previous era of LiDAR 1.0, strip alignment was a tedious manual process plagued with errors and inconsistencies. But welcome to LiDAR 2.0, courtesy of ROCK Robotic! With our cutting-edge system, strip alignment issues are virtually non-existent. Below, I change the view into GPS time so we can easily visualize the individual flight strips that were captured. I draw a cross-section profile and the data is perfectly aligned. This should be expected as a default standard on all ROCK hardware. To further highlight this point, take a look at the second photo and look at the mixture of colors. This is a real, back of the envelope way to assess the alignment of the data. Here we can clearly see an even mixture of colors, implying that one strip is neither above or below the other. ✅ RGB Camera and LiDAR: A Perfectly Synced Duo Let's talk about the co-alignment of the RGB camera and the LiDAR laser scanner. In previous generation hardware, these could suffer misalignments. But not with ROCK R3 Pro! Take a look at the perfect camera to LiDAR alignment. By switching between the intensity view (derived from the LiDAR laser scanner) and the RGB view (from the separate camera), we observed a near-perfect overlap. In addition to the excellent calibration, we released our new tool on the ROCK Desktop that provides a user-friendly camera alignment tool. Even if you've handled your system roughly (we're on a drone, after all), it's easy to recalibrate your system back to perfect condition. The ROCK Revolution: Beyond the Runway The success of this case study isn't an isolated incident. With our groundbreaking ROCK Surveyor technology, it is replicable in diverse terrains, whether it's surveying tricky terrain or inspecting power lines across California. At ROCK Robotic, we're pioneering the next generation of LiDAR technology, providing tools that are not just high performing, but also user-friendly and economical. Wrapping Up Well, folks, that's the wrap on our airport runway case study. From an impressive RMS of 0.034 ft to perfect strip alignment and a perfectly synced RGB camera, the ROCK R3 Pro and ROCK Cloud have proven that they are a cut above the rest. Whether it's for surveying tricky terrain or inspecting power lines, you can trust ROCK Robotic for accurate, reliable, and fast LiDAR solutions. Stay tuned for more updates, tips, and case studies on the blog. This is Indiana Drones, signing off. Fly safe! Further Reading and Exploring If this case study has sparked your interest in ROCK R3 Pro and you're eager to explore its potential for your applications, we invite you to visit our online store for more information, detailed specs, and easy purchasing options. Experience first-hand how the ROCK R3 Pro can revolutionize your work with its groundbreaking precision and efficiency. For a more visual experience, you can head over to our Indiana Drones YouTube channel. We have a video that delves into the accuracy of the ROCK R3 Pro in an entertaining and informative style. Follow this link to watch the video. Remember, at ROCK Robotic, our mission is to make high-precision LiDAR accessible to everyone. Whether you're a surveying veteran or new to the world of drone mapping, our suite of products and solutions is designed to help you accomplish your goals faster, more accurately, and more economically. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any assistance. We're always here to help. Until then, happy flying!

  • How-To Price a Drone LiDAR Job: A Guide to Value-Based Pricing for your Surveying Business

    Understanding how to properly price your services is crucial to the success of any business. In the world of drone LiDAR surveying, two popular methods dominate: cost-based pricing and value-based pricing. But which is the right one for your business, and how do you implement it effectively? Let's delve into it! Cost-Based Pricing Vs. Value-Based Pricing First, it's important to understand the difference between these two methods. Cost-based pricing involves calculating the cost of each aspect of a job – materials, labor hours, and other expenses – and then adding a profit margin. This approach is straightforward but can leave money on the table, especially in a high-value industry like drone LiDAR surveying. Value-based pricing, on the other hand, bases the price on the perceived value of the service to the client. It’s about selling the outcomes and benefits, not just the raw service. In an industry as dynamic and high-tech as drone LiDAR, value-based pricing can more accurately capture the worth of the service being provided, leading to potentially higher profits. So, how can you switch to value-based pricing for your drone LiDAR business? Let’s break it down. Determining the Value of Your Drone LiDAR Service In a nutshell, the value you provide to your clients comes down to four key areas: Time Saving Increased Accuracy Safety Improvements Access to Difficult Areas Let’s consider the ROCK R3 PRO LiDAR camera for drones as an example. This advanced piece of technology can capture over 1,000 acres per day, compared to the 5 acres a traditional 2-man survey crew can cover. This staggering increase in productivity equates to significant time savings for surveying firms. Moreover, the accuracy of the ROCK R3 PRO is superior to traditional methods. Where a survey crew might take measurements every 25 feet, the ROCK R3 PRO captures over 300 points per square meter with an accuracy of 1-3 cm. In terms of safety, using a drone-mounted LiDAR like the ROCK R3 PRO allows surveyors to avoid hazardous areas and wildlife. Finally, drone LiDAR has the ability to access difficult, sometimes inaccessible, terrain. The ROCK R3 PRO can fly above dense vegetation and still generate a precise topographic surface using ROCK Cloud. To price your service, you need to evaluate how much these benefits are worth to your clients. For example, how much time and money can they save by using your service? How much is the increased safety worth to them? These are the factors that should guide your pricing. Discovering Your Pricing While setting value-based pricing, the next big challenge is to discover the right price that captures the true worth of your services. Here are some practical ways to do so: Reach Out to Local Survey Firms: A straightforward way to gauge the value of your services is by directly contacting local survey firms. They can provide insights into how much they're willing to pay for the benefits that your service offers. Engage in Industry Groups: There are online communities where professionals in your industry exchange information. For example, the Drone Mapping and Surveying Group on Facebook is a hub for experts to discuss industry trends, technologies, and pricing strategies. By participating in these discussions, you can get an idea of what companies are currently charging for similar services. Estimate the Cost of Traditional Methods: Another method of discovering your price point is by comparing it to the cost of traditional surveying methods. This can give you a baseline for setting your price. For instance, let's look at the cost of surveying a 300-acre area using traditional methods. It would take a 2-man crew approximately 30 days to complete the survey, considering they can cover 5-10 acres per day. If they are paid an hourly salary of $20, that equates to 30 days x 2 crew members x 8 hours/day x $20/hour = $9,600. In addition to field work, there is also desk time required to process the data. Let's say it takes one person three days at $45 per hour to process the data. That's an additional 3 days x 8 hours/day x $45/hour = $1,080. Add to this the transportation costs, equipment costs, and other overheads, and the total cost of the project can easily reach $15,000 to $25,000. Remember, this is the cost to the firm, not what they are charging their clients. Given this, if your drone LiDAR services can accomplish the same task in less time, with better accuracy and safer conditions, you can see how the value you provide can justify a premium price. This approach not only ensures that your prices cover your costs, but also allows you to capture the full value of your service. By effectively communicating this value to your clients, and showing how your services can save them time, money, and mitigate risks, you will be well on your way to setting a profitable, value-based price for your drone LiDAR services. Communicating Your Value to Clients Once you've established your value-based pricing, it's essential to communicate that value effectively to your clients. Focus on the benefits they'll receive from your services – the time savings, the increased accuracy, the improved safety, and the ability to access difficult areas. Showcase your technology and its capabilities. Using advanced tools like the ROCK R3 PRO and the ROCK Cloud platform for LiDAR data processing not only demonstrates your commitment to cutting-edge technology, but also the tangible benefits your clients can expect. Incorporate case studies or examples that demonstrate these benefits in real-world scenarios. For instance, you could point to instances where drone LiDAR surveying helped surveying firms save time and money, or highlight a project where your services were instrumental in safely accessing hazardous terrain. Consider adding such stories to your blog or including them in your project proposals. Conclusion Embarking on the journey of value-based pricing for your drone LiDAR business can be a transformative process. Not only can it increase your profits, but it also allows you to articulate the value you deliver to your clients more effectively. Discovering the right price can be a challenge, but by leveraging resources like local survey firms, online communities such as the Drone Mapping and Surveying Group on Facebook, and comparing costs to traditional methods, you can better understand and set your price. When you use state-of-the-art technology like our ROCK R3 PRO and the ROCK Cloud platform for LiDAR data processing, you're showing a commitment to delivering the best possible value to your clients. To learn more about drone LiDAR surveying, explore our ROCK Blog, or check out our ROCK Community page for answers to your pressing questions. To see the ROCK R3 PRO in action, be sure to visit our YouTube channel, Indiana Drones, where you can find plenty of useful tutorials and impressive demonstrations. We at ROCK Robotic are excited to partner with you on your journey into value-based pricing. Together, we can push the boundaries of drone LiDAR surveying, offering superior value to clients and shaping the future of the industry. Remember, at the end of the day, your goal is to provide your clients with the best possible service while recognizing the value of your hard work. Let us help you elevate your business to new heights. Ready to get started? Schedule a meeting with our team today to learn more! Visit now and experience the best technology in aerial data collection.

  • Introducing ROCK Cloud Business PLUS: Unleashing the Power of LiDAR Processing

    At ROCK Robotic, our mission is to transform the world of LiDAR technology, making it more accessible and cost-effective for everyone. We are excited to unveil our latest development - the ROCK Cloud Business PLUS, a revolutionary upgrade designed exclusively for all new ROCK R3 PRO customers. “ROCK Cloud Business PLUS is set to change how you leverage LiDAR technology. With enhanced features and impressive affordability, it's here to redefine your LiDAR experience.” Amplify Your Capabilities The ROCK Cloud Business PLUS plan is not just an upgrade; it's a revolution, aimed at turbocharging your LiDAR data processing prowess. With this exceptional plan, you can now undertake up to 5 ROCK Surveyor projects every month, covering up to 20 acres per project. Should your project exceed this limit, don't worry, we've got you covered for the first 20 acres free of charge! This translates into an impressive $200 worth of processing included for free. For additional acreage, the fee is only $2 per acre for the ROCK Surveyor. This not only makes LiDAR data processing more cost-effective, but it also facilitates the management of larger projects with ease. Here's the Advantages The benefits of using ROCK Cloud Business PLUS extend beyond its cost-effectiveness and processing power. Here's why this plan is your best LiDAR partner: Quality Control and Assurance By LiDAR Experts One of the standout features of ROCK Cloud Business PLUS is that each of your ROCK Surveyor projects is QC/QA by our team of LiDAR Experts. This guarantees that the data you receive is meticulously vetted, perfectly processed, and of top-notch quality. By reducing errors, it saves you valuable time and resources. Dedicated Support for Your Deliverables At ROCK Robotic, we offer a complete solution to our customers. That's why, along with QC/QA, we also provide dedicated support on your deliverable. Our team of experts will guide you through your data, answer your queries, and provide insights to ensure that you understand every aspect of your deliverable. This level of support means you're never left guessing about your data and its implications. An Extension of Your Team With ROCK Cloud Business PLUS, you're not just choosing a software solution - you're choosing an extension to your team. Our LiDAR experts work closely with you, offering advice, expertise, and personalized service to ensure your project's successful completion. This level of partnership provides not just data but perfect results, every single time. Are you ready to enhance your LiDAR data processing capabilities? Embrace the future of LiDAR technology with ROCK Cloud Business PLUS. Visit our pricing page for more information and feel free to reach out to our support team if you have any questions. “With ROCK Cloud Business PLUS, you're not just investing in a processing software - you're investing in a partnership for perfection.” From surveying tricky terrain to inspecting power lines, ROCK Robotic provides the ultimate drone LiDAR solution. Visit our blog to learn more about the innovative ways our customers are using our technology in various industries. For those interested in expanding their capabilities even further, consider our ROCK R3 PRO LiDAR or ROCK R3 PRO w/ SLAM LiDAR. And don't forget to check out the store for the latest accessories to boost your LiDAR experience. Check out our various case studies to see how ROCK Robotic has helped businesses like yours transform their data collection and processing capabilities. And if you're new to the world of LiDAR, don't miss our comprehensive guide on LiDAR and surveying terms. "Together, let's redefine the way we leverage LiDAR technology. With ROCK Cloud Business PLUS, you're not just investing in a processing software - you're investing in a partnership for perfection."

  • The Rise of Drone-Based LiDAR: Pioneering Change with ROCK R3 Pro

    The realm of spatial data collection and processing has been undergoing a transformation in the past few years, steered by the game-changing developments in drone-based LiDAR technologies. At the center of this revolution, ROCK Robotic has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the industry, offering simple yet highly accurate LiDAR systems that are affordable. With our third-generation system, the ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, we have reached a new pinnacle in the realm of drone-based LiDAR technology, outpacing our earlier iterations - the ROCK R2A and ROCK R360. ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR: A Paradigm Shift in Drone-Based LiDAR ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, a cutting-edge solution, brings forth unparalleled capabilities: High precision: It captures data with accuracy down to a few centimeters, guaranteeing the quality of data. Simultaneous Photogrammetry: Alongside LiDAR data, it captures high-resolution photogrammetric data in a single flight, bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. Portability and Versatility: Its compact size and ability to be mounted on drones, vehicles, and handheld make it ideal for a variety of use cases. "Accuracy is not a luxury, but a requirement when capturing drone-based LiDAR. The precision of the data collected determines the effectiveness of the final output." — ROCK Robotic, About Best Practices for Capturing Drone-Based LiDAR In leveraging drone-based LiDAR, particularly with the ROCK R3 Pro, we have a few recommendations that can ensure optimal data capture: Prepare for the Mission: Ensure your LiDAR equipment, such as our ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, is properly calibrated and the flight path is well-planned. Accurate Data Processing: Use reliable LiDAR data processing software like our ROCK Cloud to convert raw LiDAR data into actionable insights. Support: Utilize the extensive resources available on our LiDAR support page to ensure smooth operation and to troubleshoot any issues. Drone-based LiDAR Market Opportunities Drone-based LiDAR is unlocking new opportunities across sectors, such as surveying, construction, forestry, and public safety. For instance, our ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR has successfully surveyed large and challenging terrains, ushering new possibilities for surveyors and engineers. Learn more about this in our blog post about surveying tricky terrain. The ongoing growth and advancements in drone-based LiDAR are poised to bring this technology into the mainstream, benefitting various sectors. If you are interested in being a part of this exciting journey, check out our jobs page. In summary, the rise of drone-based LiDAR, spearheaded by systems like ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, is revolutionizing the way we capture and interpret spatial data. It's also opening up new market opportunities across industries. Stay updated with the latest in LiDAR technology by subscribing to our blog, and check out our store for all your LiDAR needs. For more information about our products and services, you can request a quote through our R3 PRO quote request page.

  • Insanely Accurate LiDAR: The New ROCK R3 PRO

    Get ready to experience the next level of accuracy and workflow with the new ROCK R3 PRO survey-grade LiDAR system! The R3 PRO is part of our comprehensive LiDAR workflow, and we're excited to get it off the ground. It's a game-changer, and we don't use that term lightly. First, the R3 PRO is 30% lighter than its predecessor, the ROCK R360, weighing in at only 1.2 kg. Plus, with a detachable 26 MP camera and seamless drone integration, it's never been easier to capture precise 3D data. The new ROCK Pilot mission planning app simplifies the workflow even further, allowing you to easily plan and execute missions with the R3 Pro. And when it comes to accuracy, the R3 PRO is hands down the best in class. See the results for yourself in our R3 dataset below. Supporting the R3 PRO, ROCK Desktop allows you to see your data in the field as well as upload a compressed LAZ file directly to ROCK Cloud. This way, you can preview your point cloud results before you go back to the office. ROCK Desktop and the R3 Pro are made for each other. The R3 PRO also features a quick and easy SLAM setup, enabling you to capture 3D data without the need for flying. And when you do take to the skies, the R3 PRO integrates seamlessly with the DJI M300 (as well as other professional-grade drones) and can be controlled from your smart controller, providing real-time data and eliminating the need for manual calibration flights. We've seen the incredible results firsthand, and the accuracy is under 2 cm. Honestly, you won't believe how clean the point clouds are in the datasets. You can merge SLAM and aerial datasets with ease in ROCK Cloud. You can use control points to further enhance the accuracy of your data. The R3 PRO is the next step in ROCK's comprehensive workflow to help scale up your land surveying or 3D mapping business. At ROCK, we offer expert training, live hands-on support, dynamic software, and even the ROCK RTK Network to ensure you have everything you need to complete your 3D mapping projects with ease. Don't miss out – the R3 Pro is available now on the ROCK store and is supported worldwide. So why wait? Start capturing precise 3D data today with the all-new ROCK R3 PRO. ROCK Robotic CEO Harrison Knoll offers his insight, saying: “The ROCK R3 PRO is a major step forward for ROCK Robotic. “It offers better accuracy, better SLAM, a better camera, a lighter payload — basically a better product all around. Not only will our current customers love it, but we’re confident that the R3 will attract new customers who want a great hardware product along with our great software and support.” See Harrison's Indiana Drones channel video about the R3 PRO: Learn more about the R3 PRO here.

  • 5 Ways LiDAR Can Measure Vegetation Health in the Forestry Industry

    In the world of forestry, LiDAR is an efficient way to get a quick read on the health of an area's vegetation. By capturing point cloud data to map out their structure, LiDAR can give you a massive amount of useful information about tree health, growth and structure. Here are five key ways LiDAR can help forestry industry professionals assess the health of vegetation and trees. Canopy Height The height of vegetation and trees is an essential framework for understanding ecosystems' functioning and biomass distribution. LiDAR can measure the height of vegetation and trees, providing valuable information about their growth and structure. LiDAR measures the height of vegetation and trees by emitting laser pulses toward the ground and measuring the time it takes for the laser to return after reflecting off the foliage. This information is then used to generate high-resolution 3D maps of the vegetation and trees, providing accurate and precise measurements of their height. Canopy Density Canopy density is another important facet of understanding an environment. Aerial LiDAR can be used to measure the density of vegetation and trees, supplying practical data about the amount of foliage in the canopy and biomass distribution. Changes in the density of vegetation or trees over time can indicate changes in their health and growth patterns, such as a decrease in density due to disease or pest infestations or an increase in density due to healthy growth. Leaf Area Index LiDAR can be used to estimate the leaf area index (LAI), which measures the amount of foliage in a vegetation canopy. The LAI provides information about the amount of photosynthetic area available to the vegetation, and changes in the LAI can indicate changes in the health and growth of the vegetation. Changes in the LAI over time can suggest increased or decreased tree health. Crown Structure Crown structure is how the branches, leaves, and foliage of a tree or plant are arranged — essentially the shape of a plant. LiDAR can help measure this structure by creating detailed point cloud maps of the vegetation and trees. The information gathered from these maps can give you insight into biomass distribution, which is the total amount of organic matter in the trees and plants. Learn More: Working with vegetation and power lines? ROCK Vegetation Management rapidly diagnoses and communicates critical violations for transmission and distribution asset management. Wood volume Wood volume refers to the total amount of space occupied by the woody material in a tree. It is a measure of the size and growth of a tree and is an important parameter in the forestry industry. Wood volume is used to estimate the amount of biomass in a tree, which in turn can be used to calculate the carbon storage capacity of a forest. The wood volume of a tree can be calculated by using — you guessed it — LiDAR. The information captured on wood volume can be used for various purposes, including forest management, biomass estimation, and carbon sequestration studies. LiDAR can provide useful data about the health and growth of vegetation and trees by measuring various biophysical parameters. This information can be used to support sustainable vegetation and forest management practices. The ROCK Robotic team is ready to discuss your forestry and vegetation management projects with you. Contact us today to start the conversation. Visit to learn more about our survey-grade LiDAR hardware and processing software.

  • Surveying Tricky Terrain? Drone LiDAR for the Win!

    Drone LiDAR technology is changing the landscape of how land surveys are conducted — pun 100% intended. Traditional surveying methods often pose significant risks to human surveyors, such as falls, exposure to extreme weather, and encounters with wildlife. LiDAR-equipped drones eliminate these risks and provide accurate and detailed data for planning and decision-making. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of using drone LiDAR for land surveys in hazardous terrain. Increased Efficiency Drone LiDAR systems can quickly and accurately survey large areas of hazardous terrain, providing a detailed 3D map with information on elevation, contours, and other features. This is especially useful in areas that are difficult or dangerous to access on foot or by vehicle, such as steep cliffs, dense, impassable forests, or rugged mountains. With drone LiDAR, surveyors can utilize efficient flight planning and identify potential hazards more easily. Related: A Surveying Company in Fiji Uses Drone LiDAR to Capture Contours for a 250-Acre Project Site Enhanced Safety The enhanced safety benefits of drone LiDAR cannot be overstated. Traditional surveying methods often require surveyors to traverse rugged terrain to collect data. This can be incredibly dangerous, with surveyors risking injury from falls or other accidents. By using drone LiDAR technology, surveyors can avoid these hazards altogether. Instead, they can collect data remotely from a safe distance, reducing the likelihood of injury. This not only protects surveyors, but also allows them to focus on analyzing the data rather than worrying about their safety. After all, surveying with a LiDAR-equipped UAV can help you avoid encounters with bears, snakes and bobcats (oh my)! Using drone LiDAR for land surveys in treacherous terrain can have a positive impact on the environment. By reducing the need for surveyors to access unstable terrain physically, LiDAR technology can help minimize the amount of disturbance to sensitive ecosystems. This is particularly important in areas with fragile ecosystems, where human activity can have significant negative impacts. Accurate Data Collection Precise measurements are critical for planning safe and efficient routes in these areas, and traditional surveying methods may only sometimes provide the level of accuracy required. LiDAR-equipped drones, on the other hand, are highly accurate and can provide a level of detail that is difficult to achieve with traditional surveying methods. The drones use a combination of laser beams and GPS technology to collect point cloud data, providing detailed maps of the landscape. This level of accuracy allows surveyors to make more informed decisions, ultimately leading to safer and more efficient routes. Related: Why ROCK Cloud is the Best LiDAR Data Processing Software Cost Savings Advanced LiDAR systems are becoming more affordable and accessible, making them more cost-effective for land surveying in hazardous terrain. Traditional surveying methods, such as ground-based LiDAR or manual surveys, can be time-consuming and expensive, especially in dangerous areas. With drone LiDAR, surveyors can quickly collect accurate data and avoid the costs associated with manual surveys. This makes drone LiDAR a great option for organizations with champagne expectations on beer budgets. Drone LiDAR can also help minimize costs in other areas. Using drone LiDAR can reduce the costs associated with on-site personnel and equipment. The drones can be programmed to fly a specific route and collect data, reducing the need for surveyors to travel to the site. This also eliminates the need for expensive equipment, such as cranes or helicopters, which may be required in hazardous terrain. By eliminating the risks associated with traditional surveying methods, drone LiDAR can help protect human surveyors from potential harm and injury while providing accurate and detailed data for planning and decision-making. As advances in drone LiDAR technology continue to accelerate, we expect to see an increase in its use for land surveys in hazardous terrain. Looking for survey-grade post-processing software? Start your 14-day free trial of ROCK Cloud today at

  • Easily convert LAS to LAZ and view your point cloud in the field with ROCK Desktop (Free Download!)

    Introducing ROCK Desktop — a free point cloud file converter and data visualizer. ROCK Desktop converts your LAS files to LAZ files, compressing them by 90% of their original size. Saving precious storage space on your hard drive, all while drastically reducing upload and processing time (up to 10x faster!). ROCK Desktop also allows you to immediately view your captured point cloud data in the field without the need for an internet connection. Capture Your Best Point Cloud We wanted to offer a product that allows surveyors and LiDAR professionals to experience seamless integration from field to office to the cloud. Now you can cross your t’s and dot your i’s in the field to see if you need to re-fly an area. For ROCK Cloud users, you can simply upload your already-converted data to the cloud for post-processing in a fraction of the time. ROCK Desktop gives you the quality control you need, making your aerial LiDAR surveying jobs more streamlined and efficient. You’ll never need to schlep back out to the job site to redo all the work you’ve already done. You’ll know right away if your data is good to go. Convert Your Files from LAS to LAZ There are a few free point cloud conversion programs out there, but we wanted one that provided a better user experience, faster integration, and a cloud-optimized workflow for existing ROCK Cloud users — although you don't have to be a ROCK Cloud user to use ROCK Desktop! LAS-to-LAZ conversion and compression saves precious hard drive space and allows for significantly quicker uploads to the cloud. Go deeper: Learn more about LAS and LAZ file formats here! Visualize Your Data ROCK Desktop is a free local point cloud viewer. While there are a handful of other point cloud visualization tools out there, we weren’t satisfied with their workflows or interfaces. Simply stated, we wanted to make something better that allows surveying professionals to have a simple, user-friendly workflow. You don’t need a WiFi connection to view your point cloud data in ROCK Desktop. The software allows you to see your data right away, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere with no signal. We’ve all been there! Seamlessly Sync to ROCK Cloud This feature offers two major upgrades to your project workflow. Speed up your upload time by 10x with your already-converted LAZ file. And then, once your project is uploaded, you'll be able to see your data right away and start working with it in ROCK Cloud. ROCK Cloud is packed with tons of great features to get quality deliverables to your clients. It does the post-processing work for you, offering easy one-click processing deliverables through the ROCK Cloud Marketplace, including ROCK Surveyor, ROCK Planimetrics and ROCK SLAM. Don’t Use ROCK Products? If you don’t use ROCK Robotic LiDAR hardware or software — that’s okay. ROCK Desktop is free for anyone who wants a useful and effective tool to convert and visualize their point cloud data. Of course, we recommend that you utilize our survey-grade suite of LiDAR and aerial mapping software. But if you don’t, you can still take advantage of ROCK Desktop for free — right now! ROCK Desktop is part of our mission to provide LiDAR professionals an end-to-end solution to capture and process LiDAR data with precision accuracy. Download ROCK Desktop today! Are you ready to give ROCK Cloud a try? Start your 14-day free trial today.

  • Case Study: Using ROCK LiDAR to Inspect Power Lines Across California

    California-based company Surefire tackles complex construction management projects. When one of the state’s largest utility companies approached them with a series of inspection projects spanning much of the north coastal region of California, the team couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So how did Surefire approach this extensive power line inspection project? One drone LiDAR flight at a time. PROJECT SNAPSHOT ROCK Client: Surefire Surefire Client: One of California’s largest utility agencies Assignment: Inspect a large series of powerlines to ensure the utilities comply with all California Public Utilities Commission regulations and requirements. Result: Surefire was able to capture accurate point cloud data efficiently and safely and delivered the data in a preferred format for the utility industry. ROCK CLIENT: Surefire in Temecula, California Surefire is a fully-integrated construction management and technical service company. Its team of highly-trained, knowledgeable inspectors and managers specializes in design and construction quality-control services for major utilities throughout California. Surefire mainly uses drone LiDAR on transmission jobs, scanning powerlines and converting point cloud data into PLS-CADD models for utility agencies’ use. We spoke with Noah Carr, Drone Division Manager at Surefire, for this case study. EQUIPMENT USED Carr and his crew used a DJI M300 RTK drone with ROCK Robotic R2A LiDAR hardware. PROJECT BACKGROUND Surefire is continually collaborating with one of California's leading utility providers to develop a system for efficiently gathering as-built data that complies with all California Public Utilities Commission regulations and requirements (this project is still ongoing as of the time the case study was published). With the rise in wildfires and their possible link to power lines, there is a pressing need to capture this information as quickly as possible, beginning with collecting data from the foundation, steel, and wire. A drone then performs a LiDAR flight to complete the process. The ultimate aim is to provide engineers with accurate and up-to-date information for their models. To accomplish this, a rapid turnaround on capturing as-built data is required for new construction. The Hilltop Utility Project posed a unique set of challenges for the Surefire team. The tower they were tasked with scanning was situated atop a hill with a 500-foot elevation difference from the base. Because of the specifications mandated, the crew needed to capture data from one tower ahead of the line and one tower on the back of the line. This presented an obstacle. The drone was not visible from the base of the peak, and a receiver connection was impossible due to the steep drop-off on the other side of the hill. In addition, continuous rainfall in the days leading up to the project rendered the road leading up to the tower impassable for vehicles and barely traversable on foot due to its steep and muddy condition. In contrast, projects on flat terrain are generally less complicated, allowing larger areas to be covered in a shorter amount of time. SOLUTION The Surefire team had to overcome the connection issues and visual line-of-sight challenges. Initially, they couldn’t take off from the peak because there was no way to get the equipment up there, so they opted to set up the drone at the base of one side of the hill. Subsequently, they embarked on a grueling hike up the muddy incline with the controller and laptop, covering over a mile to reach the top. However, an error message popped up as UgCS would not stay connected in the relatively remote area outside of the nearest town. Despite attempting to troubleshoot their UgCS connection for around 30 minutes, the team concluded that flying the site manually was the only option. However, manual flying of powerlines posed its own set of challenges, particularly when trying to maintain a straight line while changing elevation the whole flight; the corridor had an elevation change of 400ft in less than a mile. To address this, Carr launched the drone from the hill's peak, with a visual observer stationed at the bottom. Carr then repeated the manual flight path four times to ensure adequate overlap and sufficient width coverage of the corridor. Although the operation was tricky, the Surefire team successfully completed the data capture. They subsequently trekked down the hill's backside to retrieve their GCP targets and back up again to complete the project. Despite the challenges, the data turned out to be accurate and error-free. RESULTS Using LiDAR technology for the project proved to be a more efficient and cost-effective solution compared to the alternative. If the team hadn't used LiDAR for the project, the utility would have had to use a helicopter to scan just one or two towers which is not cost effective compared to drones. Thanks to the use of a drone, however, there was no need for any utility disruptions (or helicopters), and the project was able to proceed smoothly without any negative impacts on the surrounding community. This ongoing utility inspection project will result in faster data for the utility and a safer energy grid for the community the utilities serve. The Hilltop Utility Project is only one piece of this much larger puzzle, which will provide a trove of helpful data to Surefire’s utility client. Surefire didn’t order any deliverables from ROCK Cloud for this project, as their client requested data in PLS-CADD files directly from the point cloud data. “If we were to use a deliverable from ROCK Cloud,” offered Carr, “it would definitely be the vegetation management deliverable, and we will be using that soon later on in the larger scope of the project." The [ROCK] hardware has worked great for us so far, and the best thing has been the team behind the scenes and the customer support that ROCK Robotic has provided. Surefire Consulting was an early adopter of ROCK hardware and ROCK Cloud software. Carr noted that “The hardware has worked great for us so far, and the best thing has been the team behind the scenes and the customer support that ROCK Robotic has provided. They are able to offer high-quality customer service, which provides a ton of value to my team.” Start your 14-day free trial of ROCK Cloud today at

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