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Lidar and Airborne Laser Scanning

  • By: Grant Fraley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR), also known as airborne laser scanning, is an active remote sensing technology that measures distances between the sensor and points on the surface and stores the geographic location of those ground points.

Measurement Method

LiDAR systems use pulses of light amplified by stimulated emission of radiation (laser). The time that lapses between emitting a laser pulse, the reflection of the pulse off of a surface, and its subsequent return to the sensor is used to determine the distance to the surface from the sensor in the equation: Distance = (Rate × Time)/2, where Rate is equal to the speed of light and Time is the aforementioned lapse of time for a pulse to return to the sensor. A global positioning system (GPS) ...

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