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Abstract

The UAV mapping industry expanded tremendously during the last five years. Thanks to miniaturization, automation and advertising, this technology may give a wrong impression that mapping of certain quality is as simple as clicking few buttons on a PC. Moreover, with a large and continuously increasing offer of hardware and software, the identification of the right tools is not easy, especially when aiming at certain standard. In this respect, the mapping with LiDAR is more delicate than with a camera due to a lower level of redundancy within the process of orientation/georeferencing and somewhat higher threshold on the size/weight per performance ratio within these sensors. This fact motivated us to present a practical benchmark evaluating a popular small LiDAR sensor in realistic conditions for intrinsic parameters such as noise or capacity to penetrate canopy, as well as the “low-weight” inertial technology in terms of geometrical influences on the resulting point cloud. The practical limitations are indeed considerably lower than those specified by the manufacturers or tested in laboratory conditions. These should be considered together with other “mapping-productivity” factors that are summarized in the last part of this study.

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