Western Coastal and Marine Geology

U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 2006-3111
Version 1.0

Land-Based Lidar Mapping—a New Surveying Technique to Shed Light on Rapid Topographic Change

By Brian D. Collins and Robert Kayen


photo of instrument about the size of an oatmeal canister sitting on a tripod on the beach.  Cliffs in the background

The rate of natural change in such dynamic environments as rivers and coastlines can sometimes overwhelm the monitoring capacity of conventional surveying methods. In response to this limitation, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are pioneering new applications of light detection and ranging (lidar), a laser-based scanning technology that promises to greatly increase our ability to track rapid topographic changes and manage their impact on affected communities.

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For questions about the content of this report, contact Brian Collins

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