What Are LIDAR Data?

May 15, 2008 by airianto  
Filed under Geomatics Science, LIDAR


Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is a remote sensing system used to collect topographic data. This technology is being used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA scientists to document topographic changes along shorelines. These data are collected with aircraft-mounted lasers capable of recording elevation measurements at a rate of 2,000 to 5,000 pulses per second and have a vertical precision of 15 centimeters (6 inches). After a baseline data set has been created, follow-up flights can be used to detect shoreline changes.

How LIDAR Data Are Collected

For the South Carolina project, a LIDAR sensor was mounted on-board a NOAA DeHavilland Twin Otter aircraft pictured below. Once in flight, the aircraft travels over the beach at approximately 60 meters per second. During the flight, the LIDAR sensor pulses a narrow, high frequency laser beam toward the earth through a port opening in the bottom of the aircraft’s fuselage. The LIDAR sensor records the time difference between the emission of the laser beam and the return of the reflected laser signal to the aircraft.

Read more