LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging) is an active optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging) is an active optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target. It is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth.

The LiDAR technology can also be referred as ALS (airborne laser scanning) or TLS (terrestrial laser scanning).A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver. Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas. Two types of LIDAR are topographic and bathymetric. Topographic LIDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric lidar uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.

LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility. NOAA scientists are using LIDAR to produce more accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, to assist in emergency response operations, and in many other applications.

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lidar.html

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