Skip navigation

LiDAR - Information

Airborne LiDAR measures the three dimensional position of vegetation, human structures, and ground surfaces visible to the instrument. Each position represents the location of the intersection of a LiDAR pulse with a surface with sufficient cross section to reflect enough light to trigger a return event in the instrument. Data layers provided are suitable for studies of forest structure >2 m in height and ground surface studies.

Journal References 

Hudak, A.T., Evans, J.S., Stuart Smith, A.M., 2009. LiDAR Utility for Natural Resource Managers. Remote Sens. 1, 934–951.

McGaughey, R.J., 2014. FUSION/LDV: Software for LiDAR Data Analysis and Visualization Version 3.42.

Reutebuch, S.E., Andersen, H.E., McGaughey, R.J., 2005. Light detection and ranging (LIDAR): An emerging tool for multiple resource inventory. J. For. 103, 286–292.

Dataset Type 

  • Level 1 (L1) - point cloud
  • Level 2 (L2)

    • 30 m return height metrics (e.g., mean), canopy cover metrics (e.g., canopy cover >2 m), intensity metrics (e.g., mean), topographic metrics (e.g., elevation, slope), canopy surface metrics (e.g., rumple) 1
    • 30 m canopy structure classes defined and mapped from a subset of key LiDAR metrics
    • 1 m canopy surface model (maximum height within grid cell)1
    • 1 m intensity (maximum intensity within grid cell)1
    1Calculated using the USDA Forest Service Fusion software package
    2Provided by NCALM using the TerraScan software packages (Terrasolid, Helsinki, Finland)

    • Forest structure measurements
    • Forest structure change detection
    • Estimation of photosynthetic versus non-photosynthetic vegetation
    • Terrain modeling
    Resolution 1 or 30 m
    Projection UTM datum NAD83
    Swath Width  NONE provided for this instrument
    Data Provider  Creators: Robert McGaughey (USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station,, Van R. Kane (University of Washington,, and James A. Lutz (Utah State University,
    Release Place: University of Washington
    Please acknowledge data processing of this data by Bob McGaughey with the US Forest Service processed point cloud information and ran the data fusion software. Johnathan Kane was responsible for quality control. Acquisition funding was provided by Dr. Van Kane with the University of Washington and Dr. James Lutz with Utah State University.