TrueView on Campus: Palomar College

Published On: August 11, 2022

Palomar College Students Receive Valuable LiDAR Experience

Focused on the practical uses of unmanned aerial vehicles, Mark Bealo instructs students at Palomar College in San Marcos, California on safe operations, mission planning based on project needs and desired outcomes, and proper flight procedures to acquire sufficient data. Following LiDAR collection, they provide the GIS department with LAS and ortho files for further data analysis and classification. Bealo sees this program as a research and development branch for LiDAR data collection.

“After analyzing the market, we found GeoCue’s TrueView™ 410 was a quality unit that would allow us to teach and give students experience with the technology,” explained Bealo. “While the TrueView 410 is sufficient, we want to move up to the TrueView 635/640 survey grade 3DIS to give students the opportunity to learn LiDAR operations in additional industry applications such as powerline inspection.”

Three people are lifting and inspection a drone with a TrueView system

The eight-week course focuses on a variety of quality levels of collection to find optimal mission parameters for LiDAR data. They fly the TrueView 410 3DIS typically at 30-40m < 5m/s, 60m at 5 m/s, and 75-90m at 5 m/s to demonstrate to students the effect that flight height, speed, and swath width and overlap have on point density to determine best practices for a given type of project. This is performed for each site, some with multiple vegetation, utilities, and structural features and others focused on LiDAR data for canopy, structures, or terrain and contour features.

Student and drone with TrueView system along shoreline for data collection

The advanced courses expose students to LiDAR and multispectral data collection and processing. Bealo’s goal is to educate students, so they can then apply these skills to real-world situations.

“The TrueView system is a great tool for students, because it exposes them to troubleshooting,” said Bealo. “It makes them think about not only collecting the data but how to plan the flight so that you achieve the project parameters required to collect good data.”

At Palomar, students are provided with hands-on access to industry-standard equipment to prepare them for real-world experience.

“Much of our advantage for students is providing access to quality equipment,” said Bealo. “Most students continuing their education come back and say they received more hands-on and practical experience at Palomar College than a four-year institution.”

The educational setting also provides the time and people resources to research, develop, and experiment with workflows and mission parameters.

“We can take our time to tweak things and think outside of the box,” explained Bealo. “Whereas, a company may not have the patience or financial ability to focus so much on experimentation.”