LiDAR generates three highly accurate products: digital terrain models, digital surface models and 3D point clouds. If acquired simultaneously with aerial images, these powerful, cost-effective products support a wide range of applications from spatial planning to forest management.Image: Three basic LiDAR products: aerial image (left) digital terrain model (DTM, center) and digital surface model (DSM, right).
LiDAR is an active, optical sensor that employs laser pulses to detect a given target (e.g. tree canopy, ground). The time it takes for the pulse to return from a target allows the device to calculate the distance between sensor and target. When combined with LiDAR’s extremely fine spatial resolution (up to 5 samples/ m2), one can generate highly detailed maps of objects on the ground, beneficial to any number of applications.Image: A LiDAR-based canopy height model (CHM) of an Indonesian rainforest reveals towering, emergent tree crowns (bright red), dense leafy canopies (green, yellow) and the forest floor (dark blue).