OS LIDAR vs PhotoSat picComparison of LiDAR-based map detail vs. map derived from high-resolution satellite data.

PhotoSat Information Ltd., a Vancouver, B.C.-based topographic mapping specialist, announced recently that the elevation data processed from DigitalGlobe’s new 30-cm resolution satellite, WorldView-3, has been verified as accurate to within 15 cm. DigitalGlobe is a global provider of commercial high-resolution earth imagery products and services, and claims to be the first company to offer 30-cm resolution satellite imagery commercially.

For the study, PhotoSat produced a 50-cm grid of elevations using its proprietary geophysical processing technology with stereo satellite images taken by WorldView-3. The resulting elevations were then compared to a 50-cm LiDAR elevation grid in Southeast California, USA, accurate to approximately 5 cm in elevation and available on the OpenTopography website. The size of the comparison area was 88 km2. The resulting 15-cm RMSE elevation accuracy was achieved using a single ground reference point. The full WorldView-3 accuracy study is available on the PhotoSat website.

PhotoSat’s elevation grids can be used by mineral resource companies as an alternative to ground surveying and airborne LiDAR mapping. The satellite imagery from WorldView-3, according to PhotoSat, will enable it to deliver the highest quality topographic data yet.

“The DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 satellite data is the highest quality satellite photo data that PhotoSat has ever processed,” said Gerry Mitchell, president of PhotoSat. “In this test, an elevation grid extracted from stereo WorldView-3 satellite photos matches a highly accurate LiDAR elevation grid to better than 15 cm in elevation. This result takes satellite elevation mapping into the engineering design and construction markets and directly competes with LiDAR and high resolution air photo mapping.”

“The fact that PhotoSat has validated our elevation data to within 15 cm is amazing and even exceeds our initial expectations,” said Kenyon Waugh, DigitalGlobe’s senior director of vertical segment products. “With these elevation products, customers in the oil, gas, and mining sectors can leverage our global reach and realize cost savings on the order of 50%.”