Accurate and high-resolution airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) data have become increasingly important for the discovery and visualization of complete archaeological settlement systems in the Maya Lowlands. We present the results of systematic quantitative analysis of lidar data and ground verification for the major centers of Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, and Lower Dover in the Belize Valley. The Belize Valley is characterized by high density populations living in growing modern towns and villages, and by large-scale agricultural production. This urban environment presents a challenge to reconnaissance efforts since modern construction and agricultural activities have destroyed ancient ruins and created new vegetation patterns. Lidar data was analyzed within a GIS using the Topographic Position Index (TPI) to identify the location of possible archaeological remains. Small-scale, site-level TPI analysis helped identify more detailed archaeological features including small house mounds, terraces, and ditches. Results indicate that lidar data recorded for areas with dense vegetation (e.g., low brush and secondary regrowth) may be less reliable for identification of archaeological remains. The quantitative and qualitative differences between spatial analyses and pedestrian survey results among land cover types indicate that traditional settlement pattern study methods, including pedestrian survey, remain vital to ground-truthing all types of spatial data.