Cover by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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Capturing the Data, aka "The Shoot"

We recorded the points data for "House of Cards" in May 2008 over a weekend in Palm Beach County, Florida. Radiohead was on tour there at the time, and they like to shoot music videos while they're on tour to reduce their travel. For a behind-the-scenes look at what the production was like, check out the "Making Of" video at the Google Code site I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.

The Outdoor Lidar Shoot

The first thing we did on arrival in Florida was set the Lidar up on the back of an old van the production crew had rented. We used the van to capture the static landscape data you see in the video, such as the city and the cul-de-sac.

Unlike the DARPA Urban Challenge vehicles, we did not put the Lidar on top of the vehicle. Instead, we tilted it 90 degrees and mounted it to the back of the van. This meant that the lasers would sweep the environment vertically. If picturing this is confusing, think of a lighthouse tipped on its side and sticking off the back of the vehicle, like a tail pipe. This meant that the lasers rotated from the street to the sky and back again. This happened 900 times per minute.

We did it this way because it gave us a very high-resolution scan of the area. And in fact, during post-processing, we isolated only one laser out of the 64, because all of them were effectively scanning the same thing. As the van was moved forward, then, the laser scanned a unique part of the environment with each revolution.

The landscape ...

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