Lidar data provides precision information on the position, elevation, and shape of the earth’s terrain and, also for features such as buildings and vegetation.
In Utah, Lidar data can be put to work to determine floodplains, discover earthquake faults and landslide hazards, map buildings and infrastructure such as utility poles and lines, inventory vegetation, and even model rooftop solar potential (video from previous project).
The Lidar data for the Monroe Mountain area of Sevier and Piute county will be used to measure forest health (canopy, trunk and stem counts, etc) and establish a base line that can be used to assess different forest management strategies to be tested in the area.
Lidar data is collected using a sophisticated laser range-finding scanner mounted to an airplane. The scanner sends out laser pulses toward the ground. The scanner’s sensor then records the strength and timing of the pulses that bounce off the ground-level surface and return back to the plane by the millions.
This information, together with precision onboard GPS and other positioning information for the plane, is used to create a giant set of 3D points that model the earth and its features. This resulting ‘point cloud’ can then be analyzed to derive a bare earth terrain model and different types of geographic features.