OT Blog

Information and discussion related to high-resolution lidar topography for the Earth sciences

Highlight: January-May 2022 publications using OpenTopography hosted datasets

OpenTopography is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation to facilitate access to topographic data for Earth and other scientific research and education. We closely track peer-reviewed publications that utilize OpenTopography data and services as they are an important measure of our impact. To better highlight new results that demonstrate the use and reuse of OpenTopography data and processing, we will periodically be featuring new results in a blog post.

iPhone lidar with applications for the geosciences

By Emily Zawacki

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a common remote sensing technique used to create high-resolution three-dimensional models of landscapes and built features. Lidar uses laser pulses to measure distances to the ground or other features. Traditionally, lidar scanners are mounted to airborne or terrestrial platforms, but we now have the power of lidar in our own hands.

OpenTopography: 2021 Year in Review

OpenTopography continued to experience strong growth in 2021 with increases in usage (jobs) as well as number of users. At the end of 2021, we have had over 158,047 unique users running 626,973 processing jobs via the portal and over 284,559 unique API users/IPs invoking in excess of 2,578,334 API jobs. We saw double the growth in the number of API calls from an already exponential growth in 2021. We continued to add more topography datasets as well as increased federated access to the number of USGS 3DEP datasets hosted on the cloud.

Topographic change in New Zealand

Topographic differencing shows changes to the Earth’s landscape, vegetation, and the built environment from both natural and anthropogenic processes. Here, we present several examples of topographic differencing in New Zealand that show airplane movement at the Auckland Airport, sediment erosion and deposition along a river on the South Island, and building construction in Wellington. The lidar topography datasets used in these examples are managed by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and are available from OpenTopography.