Interoperable Data Systems for Satellite, Airborne, and Terrestrial LiDAR Data Abstract


  • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is being widely applied to scientific problems on global to local scales using a range of laser technologies mounted on satellite, low- and high-altitude airborne and terrestrial platforms. Modern laser ranging instruments are increasingly capable of providing full waveform data, multiple detectors, higher sample rates and longer ranges. Accompanying these improvements, however, are rapidly growing data volumes and ever more complex data formats and processing algorithms. This presents significant challenges for existing Earth science data systems serving these data and creates barriers to the efficient use of these data by a growing and diverse community of scientific and other users who are studying deformation of the solid Earth, the cryosphere, vegetation structure, and land form evolution. To address these challenges, a group of data centers is collaborating under a project funded by the NASA ROSES ACCESS Program to develop interoperable LiDAR data access systems to provide integrated access to data and derived products in common data formats via simple-to-navigate web interfaces. The web service-based systems created by this project, called NLAS, will enhance access to existing laser data sources hosted at the National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC, Goddard Space Flight Center LVIS Data Center, UNAVCO, and the OpenTopography Facility at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). Through the OpenTopography portal, NLAS systems will provide access to satellite laser altimetry data from ICESat and high altitude airborne laser scanning data from LVIS, as well as low altitude airborne LiDAR and terrestrial laser scanning data hosted at OpenTopography and UNAVCO. NLAS will develop new web service interfaces for NASA data archives at GSFC/LVIS and NSIDC in an effort to improve and streamline access to these data archives. The OpenTopography portal will act as a client to the NLAS services and will provide integrated access to the GSFC and NSIDC-hosted datasets along with OpenTopography hosted data. This interoperable system will provide access to LiDAR point data as well as on-demand processing capability for user-specified topographic data products. Web service -based access and integration of these distributed data archives via an easy-to-use web portal will increase usability and enhance exposure for these data.


publication date

  • 2010

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