The Ellensburg, WA Daily Record News published an article today entitled CWU student Tom Winter studies area's slide history that discusses research being conducted by a Central Washington University graduate student who is mapping landslides in the Yakima River Canyon near Ellensburg:
Winter, 25, has the goal of gaining a master’s degree in resource management from Central by June and producing a slide hazards map for the canyon’s 20 miles.
He’s not only looking for old landslides, but debris flows when heavy rains have washed rocks and earth down the canyon sides and scoured out deep gullies.
The article references Winter's use of LiDAR data to enhance his mapping activities:
Winter also uses current topography maps, stomping up and down the canyon and seeing with his own eyes, aerial photos and something called LiDAR — an optical remote sensing technology that uses laser pulses to detect in high resolution very small changes in range, shapes and elevation.
“With LiDAR things just jump out at you that you might not notice because it’s so large,” Winter said.
Given that I'm not aware of other LiDAR data in the Yakima area, I assume that he is using the recently released EarthScope Yakima LiDAR data accessible via OpenTopography for this work. This is nice example of how providing online access to these powerful data allows them to be widely utilized in a variety of applications.