28 October 2022
environment, lidar

PREVENTING NATURAL DISASTERS WITH OPTICAL FIBER TECHNOLOGIES

For several years, all over the world, climate change has been making headlines. In 2021, the Swiss Re Group published an overall estimate of the cost of natural disasters from around the world. Globally, it assessed that last year alone, disasters cost $USD 250 billion (€221 billion), an increase of 24% compared to 2020. Of course, humans must change certain habits to avoid such significant increases. But with a little help from technology, including optical fiber technologies, we could prevent the damage caused by natural disasters, and thus be able to reduce costs. Some countries are already adopting a number of measures, the results of which will be interesting to see in a not-so-distant future!

As early as the 1930s, meteorologists were using LiDAR systems to study the atmosphere and cloud height. LiDAR (acronym for Light Detection and Ranging), also called laser remote sensing, is made of optical fibers, among others, and works with the light that travels in the optical fibers. It is an opto-electronic system, composed of a laser transmitter, a receiver with a light collector and photodetector, which transforms the light into an electrical signal. An algorithm analyzes the signal received against the signal sent and extracts the information sought.

Today, LiDAR is increasingly used for applications aimed at preventing natural disasters. Accurate to the centimeter, LiDAR is operational in most environments and weather conditions, making it the technology of choice. With time, this technology has not only become more and more accessible for cities and countries that want to reduce environmental risks, but it has also become more and more affordable.

 

Cities and Citizens, Supported by Technology

Last year, the costliest storm was Ida, which caused flooding in New York City with an estimated $65 billion in damage. With such a significant cost, it’s no surprise that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have developed technology to map floods before they occur, showing when and where water from an approaching storm will arrive, how deep the water could be, etc. This meteorological prevention innovation is possible thanks to several technologies, from artificial intelligence, spatial analysis software and … LiDAR! Before LiDAR, data was collected manually in the field and, because of its high cost, only cross sections were measured. Thanks to LiDAR, experts can now have a detailed map and can simulate where the water may go during a flood, and thus take several precautions.

Earlier this year, Singapore completed its first digital twin of an entire nation. A first! Thanks to LiDAR, among other things, this digital twin will allow specialists to know the impacts of climate change for the city, including the rising sea levels, which are a constant concern.

Other devices around the world also monitor coastlines and shorelines, keeping an eye on coastal erosion, the impact of environmental disasters, navigation data and more.

Forest Fire Prevention

We talk a lot about water damage, but fire is also a concern. LiDAR systems, often combined with another imaging system, can help prevent damage caused by forest fires. Scientists can now manage forests much more accurately, and potential fire risk can be modelled through forest structure and volume data, such as biomass.

A Tool of Choice to Save the Planet

In accordance with the wavelength and power chosen, this technology could be safe for humans and animals, and would be the ideal preventive solution for many cities, to forestall natural disasters and help human resources. At Coractive, we offer a wide variety of doped active fibers, specially designed to give you the fiber laser performance you need in LiDAR applications, such as 1550 nm LiDARs made from our Er/Yb fibers. Our experts can help you to have the best fibers according to your needs.

In a quest to try to save our planet, LiDAR technology offers more than relevant and essential information, becoming a tool of choice for saving forests, endangered species, and even human beings.

Have a project in mind? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to get the optical fiber that’s right for you!

 

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