LiDAR Drone Services, LLC, an aerial surveying company, is the result of Alex Hilger’s 2 year research practicum at Baltimore Polytechnic High School on 3-Dimensional mapping, working with mentor Mark Dhruv, LiDAR/GeoSpatial expert. A LiDAR laser measurement sensor and a survey grade GPS (dual units with yaw, pitch and roll gyroscope) were connected to an on board computer with mapping software and mounted on a drone to provide precise elevation data for making land contours, in the same way as manned aircraft. Drones would be safer, dramatically less expensive, and the quality of data collected would be far superior, because drones can fly much closer to the ground and in areas inaccessible to conventional aircraft.
As part of the project, Alex obtained an FAA pilot’s license and won numerous aviation science awards, including one from Yale. Recognizing his research, the American Institute of Aeronautics (AIAA) invited him speak at their annual convention at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in November 2015. Building and flying drones since 9th grade, Alex has been member for the last 4 years of the Washington, D.C. Drone user group (DC DUG) that keeps members informed of technology, legislative updates, and best user practices.