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NASA to use LiDAR technology to prepare floodplain maps

Idaho, US, 17 March 2007: In the skies above the Treasure Valley, a small plane equipped with experimental equipment will be gathering a huge amount of data about the Boise River. NASA physical scientist C. Wayne Wright will shoot beams of light from the green wavelength only down to the river basin, about 1,000 feet below. The reflected light will be measured by Wright’s equipment and stored, providing researchers with the raw data to create a very precise morphological map of river bottom of the Boise River.

This data, gathered using green LiDAR technology, will allow the creation of the most accurate and up-to-date flood plain maps ever made of the Boise River, researchers said. “We think this will revolutionize the way we map stream channels,” said Jim McKean, a geomorphologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Field surveying on the ground is much more time consuming and costly. The Experimental Advanced Airborne Research LiDAR system being used in this project, better known as EAARL, is much more efficient. NASA’s Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) is a raster-scanning, waveform-resolving, green-wavelength (532 nm) lidar designed to map near-shore bathymetry, topography, and vegetation structure simultaneously. The team will fly the Boise River from Lucky Peak Dam to the Snake River dozens of times over the next several days. They’re collecting data from an area that’s about 55 miles long and a mile wide.

For more information on the EAARL visit the link of USGS