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16 - Online access and processing of LiDAR topography data

from Part V - Web services and scientific workflows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2011

Christopher J. Crosby
University of California-San Diego
J Ramón Arrowsmith
Arizona State University
Viswanath Nandigam
University of California-San Diego
Chaitanya Baru
University of California-San Diego
G. Randy Keller
University of Oklahoma
Chaitanya Baru
University of California, San Diego
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Real-time sensor networks, space and airborne-based remote sensing, real-time geodesy and seismology, massive geospatial databases, and large computational models are all enabling new and exciting research on the forefront of the earth sciences. However, with these technologies comes a prodigious increase in the volume and complexity of scientific data that must be efficiently managed, archived, distributed, processed, and integrated in order for it to be of use to the scientific community. Data volume, processing expertise, or computing resource requirements may be a barrier to the scientific community's access to and effective use of these datasets. An emerging solution is a shared cyberinfrastructure that provides access to data, tools, and computing resources. A key objective of geoinformatics initiatives (e.g., Sinha, 2000) is to build such cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences through collaboration between earth scientists and computer scientists.

Airborne LiDAR (Light Distance And Ranging) data have emerged as one of the most powerful tools available for documenting the Earth's topography and its masking vegetation at high resolution (defined here as pixel dimensions less than 2 meters). LiDAR-derived digital elevation models (DEMs) are typically of a resolution more than an order of magnitude better than the best-available 10-meter DEMs. The ability to use these data to construct 2.5-D and 3-D models of the Earth's topography and vegetation is rapidly making them an indispensable tool for earth science research (e.g., Carter et al., 2001).

Cyberinfrastructure for the Solid Earth Sciences
, pp. 251 - 265
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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