LiDAR mapping for wind or solar farms

Many managers or topography technicians of engineering companies may come across projects like this one:

An electric company wants to build a wind or solar farm, and for this it needs, among other things, a LiDAR mapping of the terrain.

If this type of project interests you, in this article we analyze the details and actions to take into account from the point of view of a LiDAR company specialized in mapping.

Table of contents

If you are reading this, perhaps it is because on more than one occasion you have needed to carry out projects that require lidar or photogrammetric flight, digital terrain model (DTM) generation, contour lines, mapping or profiles, among others. If so, this is the article for you.

Since in Dielmo 3D we are specialists in the realization of mapping of a high level of detail, both through LiDAR and photogrammetry, we have decided to analyze from our point of view, how is the realization of a project of this magnitude. Giving relevant information for the realization of your own mapping project, or simply sharing the news, actions and key points in the realization of these projects.

Understanding the project

The project consists in the realization of a precision mapping of a study area for renewable engineering applications, which is then used to design where the wind farm is going to be built and where each of the elements are going to go.

From our point of view, these types of projects come to Dielmo 3D through engineering companies, which may or may not be specialized in classical surveying for many years. But the reality is that more and more, classical surveying is giving way to modern methods, and sometimes engineering companies do not have a dedicated team, for example, to photogrammetric or Lidar flights using drones.
And it is in this type of projects using LiDAR or photogrammetry, where Dielmo 3D brings a great added value, thanks to our experience and our team of professionals.

A recent case of success that we can use as an example came to us through a project created by a Spanish electric company, with presence throughout the country, which not only had the need for a mapping, but this should have shorter delivery times, tighter prices and speed of service. In this way, at the end of the project, it could have a much higher level of detail in a shorter time.

Problems faced by engineering

In this type of projects, such as the one we have introduced in the previous example, the managers or topography technicians of engineering companies may find themselves, in some cases, in need of an external company capable of drawing a cartography under the conditions imposed by the electric company.

Since the need to obtain technical and precise information to implement their project is fundamental, they turn to the service of Dielmo 3D, who has the capacity to plan the future actions of the project with centimeter precision.

They need an expert company to do the mapping of what exists, quickly and with adjusted prices, in order to carry out the project.

Analyzing the product

The product delivered to the electric company is a detailed cartography with the existing elements of the exact place where the work is to be carried out, as well as its immediate surroundings.

Carrying out the mapping

The way we realize such a product is:
Starting from an area of interest and a list of needs, Dielmo 3D (or the collaborating flight company) plans the flight to make sure that the whole area is covered with enough quality and accuracy, to obtain the products that the final customer needs.
Once the data has been flown, Dielmo 3D is in charge of generating the final products (Digital Terrain Model, mapping of the area, etc.).
(Digital Terrain Model, precision mapping from point cloud and orthophotos, profiles, etc.).

General view of such a project:

  • Electric company wants to build a wind/solar farm.
  • One of the things you need is a mapping.
  • It contacts an engineering company for the elaboration of the cartography.
  • Engineering decides to do it by LiDAR / photogrammetry
  • Dielmo flies and captures data / engineering flies and captures data
  • Engineering gives LiDAR data to Dielmo
  • Dielmo does the mapping
  • Dielmo delivers the mapping to the power company
  • Engineering may or may not add the engineering part

Steps taken from our point of view:

  • Presentation of potential project
  • Initial evaluation
  • Technical meeting
  • Confirmation of products and deliverables
  • Detailed evaluation
  • Planning
  • Execution:
    • Aerotriangulation/orientation of images and adjustment of control points with the images/LiDAR obtained.
    • Extraction of the point cloud from photogrammetry.
    • Point cloud classification into different classes.
    • Generation of a digital terrain model (DTM).
    • With the DTM and the previously oriented images, we generate a high resolution orthophoto.
    • Vectorial cartography is generated with the requested layers and 3D elevation is assigned to these layers using the previously obtained point cloud.
    • From the DTM, we generate the contour lines to be inserted in the cartography.
    • Based on the information generated, we generate ground plan and terrain profile (DWG) using PLS-CADD software.

Products made by DIELMO 3D:

  • Lidar/photogrammetric flight of the area of interest (with survey of the area to be flown).
  • Control points to ensure the required accuracies.
  • Orthophoto 5-7cm detail and stitching lines if necessary.
  • Generation of a Lidar/photogrammetric data classification from the flight (list of classes required by the project in question).
  • Digital terrain model from the classification of these flown data, and extraction of detailed contour lines of the area of interest.
  • Generation of 1:500-1000 scale cartography of the study area at a high planimetric level.

Potential problems or setbacks

On many occasions, setbacks arise that need to be solved quickly and efficiently. Some of the most common blockages we encounter when mapping like this are due to unplanned blockages that require a joint search for a solution between Dielmo 3D and the engineering company. 

There are many alternatives, but in our experience, sometimes it is necessary to get to the point of using another technology before resuming flight to continue capturing data, and this is where having the security of working in the company of a specialist company like Dielmo 3D gives you an advantage over the rest.


In many occasions, mapping projects require LiDAR flights or photogrammetry after traditional mapping.

If you want to carry out this kind of projects without having to worry about the final result or the possible setbacks in the process, Dielmo 3D has the capacity and experience to carry it out in the shortest time possible, with the guarantee of having carried out many similar projects in the past.

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