Dense vegetation and extreme elevations can make it tricky to collect accurate site data. Luckily, advancements in lidar —light detection and ranging—have made it possible to use remote sensing technology to cut through tree cover to capture three-dimensional information about Earth’s surface. To harness this untapped potential for the engineering industry, all you need is the right drone and a great pilot to fly it.

Consor’s drone crew is currently investigating a stream that runs into a lava tube in Oahu, which will help determine jurisdiction and whether federal permits are required. Last week, our newly christened Pueo 1 lidar drone took flight over Hawaii’s breathtaking scenery to capture detailed data and images that reveal the topography beneath the lush canopy. The perfect name for this precision aircraft, “Pueo” is the Hawaiian word for “owl.”