Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) is a rapidly emerging technology that researchers and professionals around the world are using in a variety of contexts applicable to many school subjects. With impressively precise 3-dimensional mapping capabilities, LiDAR can be used to teach forestry, visualization and gaming, urban planning, civil engineering, and architecture, just to name a few. However, the high cost (> $50000) associated with LiDAR instruments inhibits the use of LiDAR technology in K-12 classrooms. To give K-12 students the opportunity to work with LiDAR technology, we designed a low-cost ($300-400) LiDAR instrument. It is our intention that this affordable LiDAR unit will be used in providing a new and exciting lens when engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Build your own LiDAR:
- You will need the following materials (~ $300):
- Option 1 (~$300 per LiDAR unit): Build from your own home or at school (for building instructions click here).
Pros: Cheaper option, students could help in the process of building the LiDAR unit even if no machine shop is available at school
Cons: Not as accurate
- Option 2 (~$400 per LiDAR unit): Take Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings to local machine shop (for CAD drawings click here).
Pros: More user-friendly to middle school user, students could help in the process of building the LiDAR unit if machine shop is available at school
Cons: More expensive (~ $100 dollars per unit)
Questions about how to bring LiDAR into your classroom? Please contact Ross L. Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Laser Trigonometry in Microsoft Excel (attachment three from video 2)
- Software: You can download the free software package CloudCompare here.
- Step-by-step CloudCompare go-to-guide (attachment four from video 2)
- KWL Worksheet for student assessment
- Instructional videos:
Video 1: LiDAR set-up and taking LiDAR measurements
Video 2: Importing LiDAR data into Microsoft Excel and viewing in CloudCompare
We acknowledge the funding from grant/cooperative agreement number 08HQGR0157 from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) via a subaward from AmericaView and USDA-NIFA Award Nos. 2011-67003-3034 and 2011-68002-30191. Use of trade names does not constitute an official endorsement by the authors or the University of Idaho.