International LiDAR Mapping Forum Draws Over 1,500 Professionals To Denver

February 20, 2018 – The 2018 International LiDAR Mapping Forum held earlier this month in Denver, Colorado attracted over 1,500 professionals from all 50 U.S. states and 34 countries, representing a wide range of industries including surveying and mapping, utilities, civil infrastructure, construction, mining and aggregates, and precision agriculture.

International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) took place with the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference for the first time in 2018, giving attendees access to more geospatial solutions, technical education and networking than ever before. The events maintained their unique technical programs, including ILMF product previews and ASPRS workshops, awards, and committee meetings but shared a single combined exhibit hall.

“Colocation of ASPRS and ILMF brought many old friends and colleagues together in a vibrant and stimulating conference reminiscent of the old days. The exhibit hall was buzzing as commercial, government, and academic sector professionals viewed the latest developments, not only in LiDAR but also in UAS and other areas of remote sensing,” Karen Schuckman, Program Manager for ASPRS said. “As one who has attended both ASPRS and ILMF faithfully for more than a decade, I can say that the whole was definitely greater than the sum of the parts.”

ILMF featured three keynotes, four plenaries, dozens of technical application-specific presentations, numerous networking events and more than 90 exhibitors packing the exhibit hall with best-in-class technical solutions. The event ran from February 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.

Keynoters were presented by Jeff Sloan of U.S. Geological Survey, Michael Lefsky of Colorado State University, and Eric Larour of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Plenary panels covered Geiger Mode/Single Photon Scanning and LiDAR Sensors.

“The first ever colocation of ILMF and ASPRS exceeded all expectations. With a 50% increase in attendance, conference rooms and exhibit halls were buzzing, and all the key players were in attendance,” said Lisa Murray, Group Director for the conference organizing group Diversified Communications. “We knew that bringing together the leading minds in LiDAR and photogrammetry was a good idea, we just didn’t realize how good,” Lisa continued. “This is something the remote sensing marketplace has been missing for a number of years and the overwhelmingly positive response was proof that the industry is stronger when it bands together. There is incredible momentum going into 2019 with 70% of space has already reserved, and we are already discussing more exciting features for next year.”

The combined exhibit hall was filled to capacity with 93 exhibitors including 31 exhibitors new to ILMF. Products and services on display covered the spectrum of the geospatial industry including mapping and surveying equipment and sensors, airborne data acquisition, unmanned aerial systems, mapping software, and more. Included in the exhibit hall was a University Pavilion which invited Universities specializing in drone research to exhibit, and a UAV Pavilion which provided a special area on the exhibit hall for UAV airframe manufacturers to participate to exhibit.

“Everyone attended ILMF – from industry leaders, government agencies, associations and professionals from all over the world,” said James Van Res, Senior Vice President of RIEGL USA. “If you need to do geospatial business in any way, you need to be at ILMF next year.”

In another first for ILMF, organizers were excited to announce the first-ever “LIDAR Leader” award winners in cooperation with LIDAR Magazine. The inaugural ceremony awarded outstanding achievement in three distinct categories: Outstanding Personal Achievement in LIDAR, Outstanding Team Achievement in LIDAR, and Outstanding Enterprise Achievement in LIDAR; presented to Dr. David Maune, The North Carolina Statewide LIDAR Collection project, and United States Geological Survey respectively. In this effort to formally recognize personal and group achievements in geospatial LIDAR as well as share stories to encourage others in the industry, the Award winners and recipients did just that.

Of note, Dr. David Maune delivered a standing ovation acceptance speech, inspiring the crowd and younger-generation geospatial professionals alike. Maune said, “I won’t be satisfied until we have a seamless high-resolution, high-accuracy 3D Nation from the tops of the mountains, to the depths of the seas, to include our inland rivers and lakes.”

The 2019 edition of ILMF will be held January 28-30, 2019, also at the Hyatt Regency Denver, again co-located with the ASPRS Annual Conference. The event will be organized by Diversified Communications under the leadership of Ms. Murray, whose other products in the technology portfolio include SPAR 3D Expo & Conference,SPAR, Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Commercial UAV Expo Europe, and Commercial UAV News.