USGS lidar science strategy—Mapping the technology to the science

Open-File Report 2015-1209
By: , and 



The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) utilizes light detection and ranging (lidar) and enabling technologies to support many science research activities. Lidar-derived metrics and products have become a fundamental input to complex hydrologic and hydraulic models, flood inundation models, fault detection and geologic mapping, topographic and land-surface mapping, landslide and volcano hazards mapping and monitoring, forest canopy and habitat characterization, coastal and fluvial erosion mapping, and a host of other research and operational activities. This report documents the types of lidar being used by the USGS, discusses how lidar technology facilitates the achievement of individual mission area goals within the USGS, and offers recommendations and suggested changes in direction in terms of how a mission area could direct work using lidar as it relates to the mission area goals that have already been established.

Suggested Citation

Stoker, J.M., Brock, J.C., Soulard, C.E., Ries, K.G., Sugarbaker, L.J., Newton, W.E., Haggerty, P.K., Lee, K.E., and Young, J.A., 2016, USGS lidar science strategy—Mapping the technology to the science: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1209, 33 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Lidar Relevance to USGS Mission Area Science—Existing Lidar Application to USGS Mission Area Science
  • Climate and Land Use Change
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy and Minerals
  • Environmental Health
  • Natural Hazards
  • Water
  • Core Science Systems
  • USGS-wide Summary and Guidance
  • Summary of Lidar Portfolio: Strategic Actions for all Mission Areas
  • Conclusion
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title USGS lidar science strategy—Mapping the technology to the science
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1209
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151209
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Geospatial Program
Description v, 33 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details