Unlocking the Secrets of LiDAR Data: A Comprehensive Guide

LiDAR is a powerful remote sensing technology that utilizes light to measure the surface reflectivity of an area. By sending out repeated pings, LiDAR systems can also detect how nearby objects move, their speed, and whether they are facing the LiDAR device or not. This technology has a wide range of applications, from topographic mapping to collision avoidance systems. It can even be used to measure atmospheric absorption and develop cloud profiles.

In the upstream oil and gas industry, 3D at Depth has been a major player in validating the LiDAR market. But what exactly is LiDAR? And where can you find free LiDAR data? Let's take a closer look.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It works by sending out light pulses from an airplane or helicopter and measuring the time it takes for the light to return to the device. This data is then used to create three-dimensional models and digital elevation maps.

Where Can You Find Free LiDAR Data?

If you're looking for free LiDAR data, here are some of the top sources:
  • USGS Earth Explorer: The USGS Earth Explorer provides access to satellite imagery, aerial photography, and other geospatial datasets.
  • OpenTopography: OpenTopography is a portal for high-resolution topography data.
  • OpenLidar: OpenLidar is a repository of open source LiDAR data.
  • NASA's Global Change Master Directory: The Global Change Master Directory provides access to global datasets related to climate change.
  • NOAA Digital Coast: The NOAA Digital Coast provides access to coastal data, including LiDAR data.
  • USGS National Map Viewer: The USGS National Map Viewer provides access to topographic maps and other geospatial datasets.
These are just a few of the many sources of free LiDAR data available online.

With so many options, you're sure to find the data you need.

What Can You Do With LiDAR Data?

LiDAR data can be used for a variety of purposes, including topographic mapping, atmospheric absorption measurements, cloud profile development, wind measurements, aerosol studies, and more. It can also be used to measure elevations of seabeds and riverbeds.


LiDAR is an incredibly powerful remote sensing technology with a wide range of applications. From topographic mapping to atmospheric absorption measurements, LiDAR data can provide valuable insights into our environment. With so many sources of free LiDAR data available online, it's never been easier to access this technology.

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