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Protecting European Hamsters in Agriculture with LiDAR Technology

November 18, 2023


European Hamsters are a protected species living in agricultural areas, often alongside field mice, which are considered pests. Lack of awareness about hamster presence leads to unintentional harm by farmers, endangering the European Hamster population.

CRIFORA OG (a partnership between UMGEODAT Gbr and Grüne Umwelt) recognised the need to improve precision in detecting hamster burrows and looked for a solution that could efficiently address this issue. They contacted MOST Robotics, YellowScan's German distributor, to request a Proof of Concept for their specific requirements, which included:

  • Inspecting extensive areas with minimal manpower
  • Minimising disruption to the local ecosystem
  • Providing precise hamster hole locations
  • Detecting burrows hidden under vegetation.
Acecore Noa flying over an agricultural field

Hamster burrow found in the field


The use of a drone (Acecore Noa) equipped with the YellowScan Voyager LiDAR system allowed for the easy detection of hamster burrows in the point cloud. This technology helped with counting, measuring size and depth, and provided accurate coordinates without damaging the natural environment.

The advantages of the YellowScan Voyager solution included:

  • High point density and accuracy
  • A wide field of view (FOV) with three scanning angles
  • Multiple echoes (up to 32) to penetrate through vegetation.
Resulting flight and point cloud processed in the YellowScan CloudStation

Mission parameters

  • Survey size: 4.025ha (9.96 acres)
  • Duration:
    • Planning (for all 4 flights): 15 min
    • Acquisition: 10 to 25 min
    • Processing: 2 hours
  • Number of flights: 4
  • Flight speed and altitude:
    • 5 m/s and 25m
    • 5m/s and 35m
    • 5m/s and 65m
    • 5m/s and 120m
  • Equipment used: Acecore Noa drone, YellowScan Voyager, CloudStation software with Terrain, Strip Adjustment and Colourisation modules.
Point cloud of the acquisition clearly showing hamster burrows under ground


  • Point density: 16 500 pts/sqm (1 468 486 145 Points on 88 500 sqm/21.8 acres)

The YellowScan Voyager LiDAR system consistently and accurately detected hamster burrows in all flights, even when concealed by vegetation. Its precision and penetration capabilities ensured efficient and non-intrusive field usage, while the rapid data processing and analysis in the YellowScan CloudStation software (CS) ensured a seamless workflow.

Thanks to the YellowScan Voyager, the University of Halle effectively addressed the challenge of protecting European Hamsters through strategic LiDAR technology use, demonstrating its effectiveness in conservation efforts while minimising disruption to the local ecosystem.

Detection of Hamster burrows from their entrance that creates points below ground

Hamster burrow entrance from the top

The partnership with YellowScan is very close—it’s one of the best partnerships we have with our manufacturers. We have the right contacts, know directly who to call for each case. Also, the YellowScan products are great. We don’t have to compare our products to other manufacturers as YellowScan provides the full package of LiDAR Scanners. So, we can directly pick the right scanner for every application.

Valentin Möller

CEO – MOST Robotics

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