How NYC Officials Are Using LiDAR to Prepare for Future Storms

With Sandy’s passing, LiDAR has again become the talk of the geospatial community.

New York City officials plan on using LiDAR technology to accurately measure the city’s elevation. They’ll do so by flying aircrafts over the city and bounce lasers off the surface to determine changes and areas that need immediate attention. The data will then be used to prepare for future hurricanes.

This isn’t the first time LiDAR has been used to access geographical changes after a hurricane. Research teams used this data system after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Isabel to determine their impact on environmental levels such as erosion and water

How does LiDAR work?

LiDAR works like radar except instead of emitting radio waves to measure what bounces back, it uses thousands of light waves. These light waves are used to provide 3-D information for an area and is useful for surface, vegetation, transportation corridor, transmission route, and 3-D building mapping respectively.

LiDAR’s advantage over other geospatial tools is its ability to provide data over various landscapes. When light pulses bounce off water, it brings back a weaker signal than when it bounces off terrain. The image above illustrates Hatteras Island before and after Hurricane Isabel.

To really understand what LiDAR is and its uses, please click here to receive your free LiDAR for Dummies eBook.

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