What is a LiDAR used for?

What is LiDAR Used For?

LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system—generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

Primary Uses of LiDAR:

  • Geography and Geology: Mapping topography, assessing soil erosion, and monitoring land shifts.
  • Forestry: Assessing forest canopy density, structure, and biomass.
  • Agriculture: Evaluating crop health and terrain analysis for precision farming.
  • Urban Planning: Mapping and modeling cityscapes for infrastructure development and flood risk assessment.
  • Archaeology: Discovering and mapping archaeological sites hidden under vegetation.
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Providing real-time data for navigation and obstacle detection.
  • Atmospheric Research: Measuring atmospheric conditions, including pollution levels and cloud formations.

How LiDAR Works:

LiDAR systems emit rapid pulses of laser light at a surface. Some of this light is reflected back to the sensor, where it is analyzed to calculate the distance the light traveled. By repeating this process across a wide area, LiDAR can produce a detailed 3-D map of the terrain.

Types of LiDAR:

Type Description
Airborne LiDAR Mounted on aircraft, measures the Earth's surface.
Terrestrial LiDAR Stationary, ground-based systems for capturing detailed images of structures and landscapes.
Mobile LiDAR Mounted on moving vehicles, used for mapping and surveying at ground level.
UAV LiDAR Mounted on drones, used for detailed and flexible aerial surveys.
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