Multi-sensor aerial system stabilized by GSM 4000

High-density LiDAR and high-resolution imagery collection with Gyro Stabilization Mount GSM 4000 for flood study

Cooper Aerial Surveys was contracted by Helm Engineering to provide aerial lidar mapping of the Pahrump site for a flood study over the entire Nye County. Pahrump is a town located at the southernmost tip of Nye County, Nevada, about 62 miles (100 km) west of Las Vegas, adjacent to the Nevada–California border. The results of this survey help mitigate flood damage for existing and future projects.

Cooper Aerial Surveys uses a multi-sensor aerial system stabilized by a single SOMAG Gyro Stabilization Mount GSM 4000 to obtain the highly accurate lidar and aerial imagery data. The Mount helps to hold the sensors in place and compensates for movement as the aircraft moves down the flight line or crabs, ultimately resulting in crystal clear aerial imagery and even better quality data being captured for the entire mapping project.

GSM 4000

Advantages for Lidar and Imagery Products

  • Crystal clear aerial imagery

    through precise sensor stabilization during flights
  • Saving of time and money

    time spent on aerial triangulation can be reduced by 20%
  • Flexibility and compatibility

    GSM 4000 is adaptable to any sensor and camera system

To complete the project, Cooper Aerial collected 10cm GSD color imagery and 20 points per square meter LiDAR over the client-defined mapping limits. The project area covered roughly 171,000 acres (268 Sq Miles) of land. Aerial photography consisted of 31 flight lines with 2304 exposures, with a total of 523 mapping models.

The mapping data was used to compile a 1″ = 40″ stereo map to create all planimetric features and 3D Digital Terrain Model (DTM) for 1′ contour generation. Contour data was derived from LiDAR data and included major breaklines and hydro flattening.

By using the data collected by Cooper Aerial, Helm Engineering was able to create models to identify potential areas that were highly exposed to risks of flooding. Some of these hazardous areas contain high-end real estate communities worth several millions of dollars that need to be protected against these risks. Furthermore, this flood study allows the county to learn more about the impacts of a major flood event if preventative measures are not taken. Planimetric features included impervious surfaces (paved lots, roads, concrete), buildings, dirt roads, and drainage features. Cooper Aerial used the surface that was derived from the lidar data to create orthorectified photos, which were useful in the collection of planimetric features as well as quality control purposes.

Improved efficiency

Maximum quality at minimum cost and time

Cooper Aerial is the largest firm in the Southwest, dedicated to providing leading edge aerial mapping solutions throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. To maximize time and cost efficiency without sacrificing the quality the customer expects, they use an integrated hybrid dual collection system consisting of a Teledyne Galaxy Prime Lidar and a Phase One 280 MP camera installed in a SOMAG Gyro Stabilizer GSM 4000 Mount.

This system enables a single mobilization of the lidar and camera in a seamless mission with only one aircraft, making the most of weather windows and generating matching data sets. This approach significantly minimized the project cost by about half of the flight cost, roughly $76,000. Without such a system, meeting the project deadline would have required mobilizing more aircraft or extending turnaround time.

Moreover, Cooper’s installation of the GSM 4000 provides it with clean data that is easier to process. This allowed the company to reduce the time required for aerial triangulation by 20%, which lowered the overall cost of the project for the customer.

Why Customers

Trust Somag

“SOMAG is the leading provider of gyro stabilized mounting systems and provides high accuracy for large-format, LiDAR, and photogrammetry. As the market leader, SOMAG has the biggest market share in its industry and this is not random. SOMAG has a great pricing point and good customer service and therefore it was an easy choice for us to go with them. In addition to SOMAG’s quality product, we appreciate the fact that the GSM 4000 is adaptable to any sensor and camera in the marketplace which gives us more flexibility on how we can equip our aircrafts.”

Zachary Radel, Sr. Project Manager at Cooper Aerial Surveys Co.

Watch the GSM 4000 in field

About Cooper Aerial

Cooper Aerial boasts a well-connected staff of photogrammetrists, imagery specialists, project managers, marketing, traditional survey experts, aerial imagery collection experts, and GIS specialists. The company provides professional photogrammetric mapping and imagery services for a variety of industries to governmental, engineering, and developmental organizations. Simultaneous data acquisition is used on customer projects in civil engineering, hydrology, energy, forestry and military sectors.


SOMAG AG Jena is a global specialist for high-precision gimbal systems. The company focuses since 2004 on the development and manufacture of Gyro Stabilization Mounts for data acquisition and surveillance applications in the air, on land and at sea. The airborne product portfolio comprises three different Gyro Stabilization Mounts for large format, multiple medium format and single medium format sensors. All aerial camera stabilizers are designed for operation inside airplanes, helicopters or UAVs.


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