Collaborative Research: OpenTopography: A Cyberinfrastructure Facility for Topographic Data, Services, and Knowledge Grant


  • This Geoinformatics award to the University of California San Diego supports a multi-year project that is collaborative with Arizona State University and UNAVCO, Inc. The project plan will improve upon and refine the capabilities of the OpenTopography Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data services web portal that was initially jointly supported by NSF/EAR, NSF/OCI and NSF/CISE (EAR-0930731/EAR-0930643 and EAR-1226353). Efforts will entail development of strengthened interoperability, provision of a broadened suite of processing and data services, improved scalability via cloud and high performance computing, and provision of outreach and user support through short courses and workforce development. OpenTopography (OT) was designed to allow users web-based access Lidar generated high resolution topographic data sets and analysis tools in support of surface Earth process research, research training and education. A wide range of Earth Science fields including geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, volcanology and neotectonics, have benefitted and will continue to benefit from OT data and tools.

    Continued development efforts for OT will expand capabilities to handle full waveform LiDAR, TLS data and bathymetric data as well as the continued ingestion of extant airborne LiDAR and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data sets from numerous sources including the National Center for Airborne Laser Swath Mapping Facility (NCALM), the UNVACO hosted TLS instrument pool, NOAA, US Bureau of Reclamation, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service and numerous state airborne LiDAR data sets and Space Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) global datasets. This work will expand topographic data collected with laser and photogrammetric technologies at a range of scales with a sustained emphasis on high-resolution topography (HRT; <1m/pix). At present OT?s rapidly growing data holdings currently include 186 LiDAR point cloud datasets (>829 billion points) covering 180,122 km2. The OT user community has grown to over 8,100 registered users and more than 47,000 point cloud processing jobs have accessed over 1.6 trillion LiDAR returns. This support is congruent with NSFs mission of promoting the progress of science and may advance the national prosperity and welfare through improved public access to high resolution digital georeferenced topographic data sets with applications to geohazards assessment and mitigation including improved flood forecasting.


date/time interval

  • July 1, 2016 - December 31, 2018

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1557319