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Vanuatu elevation data to benefit future planning

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Vanuatu: High resolution elevation data acquired by the Australian Government on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu will become a significant asset to Vanuatu helping to facilitate better coastal planning and management.

The primary aim of the project was to identify the potential flooding risks to Vanuatu’s commercial districts and rural communities, with the focus being to capture high resolution elevation data for priority areas in the capital Port Vila, as well as Luganville.

The project involved the collection of high resolution topographic and bathymetric data through Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for priority areas of Efate, Malekula and Espiritu Santo Islands. LiDAR and imagery data were captured via a series of aerial surveys undertaken in 2012 and 2013, resulting in the collection of billions of individual 3D data points.

The LiDAR survey data have been further processed to derive two different elevation models: a ‘bare earth’ Digital Elevation Model (DEM) based solely on the topographic and bathymetry data; and a Digital Surface Model (DSM) incorporating elevations of above-ground features such as trees, buildings and other structures.

Pacific Island Countries are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, coastal erosion and extreme weather events, with most settlements, infrastructure and industry located within the coastal zone.

Source: Geoscience Australia