Field service personnel are no strangers to tablet computers — in fact they’ve revolutionized many aspects of the industry. But there’s still a “wow” factor at play, and such is the case with Japanese company Aero Sensing, Inc., which is using a tricked-out rugged tablet for some pretty amazing tasks.

Now, we’ve heard of using tablets in aircraft before. But  Aero Sensing, a private land-surveying company based on Osaka, is taking that a step further. They use a Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 tablet computer to display three-dimensional laser-scanned images of huge swaths of land from the air — usually from a helicopter or single-engine aircraft. The laser-scanning, also known as LIDAR (Light, Imaging, Detection and Ranging), uses pulsed laser light to survey the surface of the ground below. LIDAR can scan entire cities to create 3D images of buildings and streets, or assess things like flooding or building damage in dangerous areas. That data is then piped to the tablet, which is mounted in the helicopter.

The Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 has an 8.9-inch screen and runs Windows’ operating system. The device, hooked up to the laser, is flown about 3,000 to 4,000 feet above ground, and clearly displays the data from below for the engineers on-board. The tablet is tough enough to withstand dust, rain and nasty weather as well as shock, temperature, and vibrations — which are important considerations in an helicopter. At the same time, it’s light enough to comfortably fit in the aircraft without affecting other operations. It weighs just under three pounds and stands about 10-inches tall.

Using full Web connectivity onboard, the Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 can also use GPS and a camera for additional scanning functionality.

Just another in a growing list of tablet use cases in the field.

More: How the iPad ‘Revolutionized’ the Job for One Field Service Veteran.

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ABOUT Tiffany Kaiser

Avatar photoTiffany is a tech journalist turned full stack developer who's passionate about the design of a site, the code I write and the people I'm writing it for. I can OO JavaScript, style a sidebar and query a database while upholding that human element needed to communicate with team members and clients.