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USGS lidar science strategy—Mapping the technology to the science

January 11, 2016


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) utilizes light detection and ranging (lidar) and enabling technologies to support many science research activities. Lidar-derived metrics and products have become a fundamental input to complex hydrologic and hydraulic models, flood inundation models, fault detection and geologic mapping, topographic and land-surface mapping, landslide and volcano hazards mapping and monitoring, forest canopy and habitat characterization, coastal and fluvial erosion mapping, and a host of other research and operational activities. This report documents the types of lidar being used by the USGS, discusses how lidar technology facilitates the achievement of individual mission area goals within the USGS, and offers recommendations and suggested changes in direction in terms of how a mission area could direct work using lidar as it relates to the mission area goals that have already been established.