Lidar Derived Imagery in Google Earth

Lidar ImageryOne of the challenges related to lidar data is the need for specialized software and expertise to view lidar point cloud data and derived digital elevation models (DEMs). For users without the software or skills tackle these data, Google Earth (or similar virtual globes) provide an excellent way to view images derived from lidar topography data. These Google Earth files are also powerful for education and and outreach and for synoptic browsing of data before working with other lidar products.

The Google Earth files (KMZ) below access lidar-derived images via the internet and will allow you to seamlessly browse massive amounts of data in Google Earth. The KMZ files listed below provided access to 1 meter resolution imagery derived from lidar datasets hosted by OpenTopography. Download the file and open into Google Earth to browse bare earth (filtered) and unfiltered hillshades with two illumination angles (315 and 45 degrees) and slopeshade images. The extent of the lidar data is shown by the cyan colored outlines.

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1   Survey of Sheepscot, Narragaugus and Pleasant Rivers, Maine  
 
Description:
NCALM Project. Noah Snyder, Boston College. The survey areas are three irregular polygons containing the watersheds of three rivers in Maine: the Sheepscot, Narragaugus, and Pleasant. These areas were flown in thirteen survey flights beginning on October 31, 2007 and were completed on November 11, 2007. Data were collected to investigate land use, geologic and climatic controls on stream processes in northern New England.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z19N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
1,059.00km2

2   St. Elis Mountains and Gulf of Alaska  
 
Description:

PI: Terry Pavlis, University of New Orleans. The survey area consists of two polygons along the Gulf of Alaska. The western polygon was partially flown on September 2, 2005 (2 flights) and completed on September 8, 2005 (2 flights). This area is located approximately 56 miles southeast of Cordova, Alaska. The eastern polygon over the Sullivan Anticline is located about 140 miles southeast of Cordova, AK. The Sullivan Anticline was surveyed with 5 flights over a period of 8 days from September 3, 2005 through September 10, 2005. Low clouds and a substantial amount of rain precluded the completion of this polygon, but all lines except four were flown.

Please note that the Sullivan polygon (eastern) ONLY contains ground points.


Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z06 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
427.00km2

3   Flathead Lake Biological Station, MT (September 2005)  
 
Description:
NCALM Project. PI: Mark Lorang, The University of Montana- Missoula. The survey area is an 90 square kilometer box located 40 km northeast of Kalispell, Montana This area was flown on September 14, 2005 and completed on September 15, 2005. Lidar data from the Nyack Floodplain on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River was collected for several purposes. The first was to provide a base image from which we could place a network of groundwater wells. The data was also used combination with optical remotes sensing data, both airborne and satellite, to identify pixels within multispectral optical imagery that corresponded to various vegetation height elevations. Those pixels were then separately classified by vegetation type. Data was also used to conduct simple flood inundation modeling of the floodplain and in combination with measures of flow depth and velocity extracting water surface elevation from the lidar to map the spatial distribution of stream power. This area has a repeat survey from May 2005: Flathead Lake Biological Station, MT (May 2005).

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z12 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
90.00km2

4   Survey of Parts of Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
NCALM Project. PI: Paul Bierman, University of Vermont. The survey area consisted of two polygons: 1) over a portion of the Potomac River in Washington D.C. enclosing 60 square km; and 2) over a portion of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania enclosing 23 square km. The Susquehanna survey took place on January 9, 2005 and the Potomac survey took place on January 11, 2005.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z18 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
85.00km2

5   South Fork Eel River, CA Watershed Morphology  
 
Description:
NCALM Project. Mary Power, University of California Berkeley. The survey area consisted of a polygon located 20 kilometers east of Dos Rios, California. The survey took place over eight flights from 6/27/2004 to 6/30/2004.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z10 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
Ellipsoid (GRS80)
Area
236.00km2

6   White Canyon and Hite, Lake Powell, Utah  
 
Description:
NCALM Seed: Jim Evans, Utah State University. The survey area consisted of an irregular polygon, 92 square kilometers, located on Lake Powell at White Canyon and Hite, Utah. Data were collected from February 17, 2005 to February 23, 2005. Bare-earth extraction was not performed on this dataset due to the scarceness of vegetation in the interest area.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z12 N NAD83 (2011) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
92.00km2

7   Merced, CA: Origin and Evolution of the Mima Mounds  
 
Description:
NCALM Seed Project. PI: Sarah Reed, University of California, Berkeley. This lidar survey was conducted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 on a 33 square kilometer polygon northeast of Merced in Merced County, California. These data were collected to investigate the origin and evolution of Mima mounds in California's Central Valley.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z10 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
33.00km2

8   Plum Island, MA  
 
Description:
NCALM Project. PI: Vinton Valentine, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. The survey area is an irregular polygon (148 square kilometers) at the Plum Island River in northeast Massachusetts. The eastern third of the polygon was flown on Monday April 18, 2005. The central third was flown early Tuesday morning April 19, 2005 and the last third (the Parker River area) was flown on the afternoon of the 19th.

Horiz. Coordinates
MA-Mainland State Plane (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
148.00km2

9   Silver Plume, CO  
 
Description:
PI: Dennis Staley, University of Memphis. The survey area consists of 2 polygons west of Silver Plume, Colorado covering a total area of 48 square kilometers. Portions of White River National Forest and Arapaho National Forest are covered in the survey area. The survey was flown and completed on September 29, 2005.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z13 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
48.00km2

10   Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mt. Tamalpais State Park, CA  
 
Description:
PI: William Dietrich, University of California, Berkeley The project area consists of two polygons totally approximately 28 square kilometers located 10 kilometers northwest of the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA. The project area was flown on Thursday, December 7, 2006.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z10 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
28.00km2

11   Tender Foot, MT: Hydrological Processes on Hill Slopes  
 
Description:
PI: Mrian McGlynn, Montana State University. The survey area consists of a115 square kilometers located 9 kilometers west of Neihart, Montana. This area was flown and completed on September 19, 2005. Data were collected to investigate hydrological processes on hillslopes in the Tenderfoor Creek, Montana area.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z12 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
115.00km2

12   Big Sky, MT: Patterns of Nitrogen Export & Land Use Change  
 
Description:
PI: Kristin Gardner, Montana State University. The survey area is a 249 square kilometer irregular polygon located 21 kilometers west of Big Sky, Montana. Seven flights were made beginning on September 20, 2005 and completing on September 25, 2005. Data were collected to investigate spatial and temporal patterns of nitrogen export and land use change in a mountainous watershed.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z12 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
249.00km2

13   Furnace Creek Wash, Death Valley National Park, California  
 
Description:
PI: Noah Snyder, Boston College. The survey area is a 38 square kilometer polygon near the Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch in Death Valley National Park, California. This area was flown on February 27, 2005. The data were collected to investigate transient response of a desert river to forced diversion. Bare-earth extraction was not performed on this dataset due to the scarceness of vegetation in the interest area.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z11 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
38.00km2

14   Dragons Back Ridge: San Andreas Fault, California  
 
Description:
NCALM Seed. PI: George Hilley, Stanford University. The survey area is a 48 square kilometer irregular polygon centered on the San Andreas Fault southwest of Taft, California. This area was surveyed on May 19, 2005 and covers the Dragon's Back Pressure Ridge.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z11 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
48.00km2

15   Furnace Creek and Fish Lake Valley Fault Zones, Death Valley National Park  
 
Description:
PI: James Dolan, University of Southern California. The project area consists of two rectangular polygons covering an area of 38 square kilometers. Data were collected along the Furnace Creek and Fish Lake Valley Fault Zones in Death Valley National Park. The data were collected February 28, 2005. Bare-earth extraction was not performed on this dataset due to the scarceness of vegetation in the interest area.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z11 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Geoid 03)
Area
38.00km2

16   Yosemite, CA: El Portal, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Canyon & Tuolumne Meadows  
 
Description:
The survey area consists of five polygons totaling an area of 131 square kilometers covering portions of Yosemite National Park, California. The area of interest includes Yosemite Canyon, El Portal, Mariposa Grove and Tuolumne Meadows. hese data were collected by the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) on behalf of Greg Stock of the National Parks Service

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM 11N NAD83 (CORS) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (GEOID 03)
Area
131.00km2

17   Lake Placid, FL: Lidar Survey of the Archibold Biological Station  
 
Description:
PI: Hilary Swain, Archibold Biological Station, Florida. The survey area consists of a 86 square kilometer polygon south of Lake Placid, Florida. The area of interest covers the Archibold Biological Station (ABS), an NSF funded project, which is located 3 miles south of Lake Placid.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM 17N NAD83 (CORS 96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (GEOID 03)
Area
86.00km2

18   Grand Junction, CO: Roan Plateau  
 
Description:
NCALM Seed: PIs: Maureen Mason Berlin and Dylan Ward, University of Colorado, Boulder. The survey areas consist of two polygons covering portions of the Roan Plateau, Colorado. One polygon has an area of 72 square kilometers and is north of Grand Junction, CO. The other polygon is located north of Parachute, CO and has an area of 61 square kilometers.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM 12N WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (Ellipsoid)
Area
133.00km2

19   Airborne Laser Mapping of Independence Lake, CA  
 
Description:
NCALM Seed Project. PI: James Kirchner, University of California, Berkeley. The survey area consisted of a 31 square kilometer polygon covering Lake Independence, CA, located about 50 kilometers west of Reno, NV.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM z10 N NAD83 (CORS96) [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (GEOID03)
Area
65.00km2

20   Teton Conservation District, Wyoming  
 
Description:
This dataset was collected during the summer of 2008 by Sanborn on behalf of the Teton Conservation District. The project mapped 141 square miles of area within the Snake River Range and the Teton National Forest. The area covered is west of the Snake River to the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary, and from Teton Village to Red Top Meadows.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM Zone 12 N NAD83 Meters [EPSG: 26912]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88
Area
365.00km2

21   Lake Tahoe Basin  
 
Description:
Watershed Sciences, Inc. (WSI) collected Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) data of land surrounding Lake Tahoe from August 11th to August 24th, 2010. The requested area of interest (AOI), excluding the actual lake, was 232,536 acres of delivered Lidar data. The lidar survey used two Leica ALS50 Phase II laser systems mounted in a Cessna Caravan 208B. The Leica systems were set to acquire ≥ 83,000 - 105,900 laser pulses per second (i.e., 83 - 105.9 kHz pulse rate) and flown at 900 - 1300 meters above ground level (AGL) depending on weather and terrain, capturing a scan angle of ±14° from nadir. These settings were developed to yield points with an average native pulse density of >8 pulses per square meter over terrestrial surfaces. The resulting average first-return density of delivered dataset is 11.82 points per square meter with an average ground point density of 2.26 points per square meter. The vertical accuracy was estimated at 3.5 cm RMSE. All TRPA Lidar data is in the public domain.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM Zone 10 N NAD83 Meters [EPSG: 26910]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88
Area
941.00km2

22   El Mayor-Cucapah Earthquake (4 April 2010) Rupture Lidar Scan Imagery  
 
Description:
These data cover the El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake (4 April 2010) rupture belt and nearby portions of the Laguna Salada fault, Sierras La Cucupa and El Mayor, and Colorado River Delta. They were gathered by the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping at the request of Michael Oskin (UC Davis) and Ramon Arrowsmith (Arizona State University) in collaboration with Alejandro Hinojosa and John Fletcher of CICESE. The acquisition of these data was supported by a RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation's EarthScope Program and Office of International Science and Education, with additional support from the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Horiz. Coordinates
UTM Zone 11 N WGS84 Meters [EPSG: 32611]
Vertical Coordinates
Ellipsoid
Area
372.00km2

23   World Bank - ImageCat Inc. - RIT Haiti Earthquake Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
These lidar data were collected between January 21st and January 27th, 2010, in response to the January 12th magnitude 7.0 Haiti earthquake. The data collection was performed by the Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Kucera International under sub-contract to ImageCat, Inc., and funded by the Global Facility for Disaster Recovery and Recovery (GFDRR) hosted at the World Bank. All data are available in the public domain. More information about these data can be found at the RIT Information Products Laboratory for Emergency Response (IPLER) 2010 Haiti Earthquake page.

Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
838.00km2

24   Napa Watershed, CA Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
These data were acquired by the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) in 2003. They have kindly agreed to make these data available to the research community through OpenTopography.

Note: This is a classified last return dataset (i.e. there is not first return / canopy top data included). A bare earth model can be created from these data, but a model generated from the full point cloud produces something that approximates a low vegetation surface - not ground, but also not canopy top.

UPDATE: Full unfiltered 2003 point cloud ASCII files. Bulk download of the original unfiltered ASCII files (64 GB) from the 2003 Napa Watershed collection by the National Center for Airbone Laser Mapping (NCALM). The original ASCII data has been made available in response to the August 26, 2014 Mw 6.0 South Napa Earthquake.


Horiz. Coordinates
UTM Zone 10 N NAD83 Meters [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
NAVD88 (GEOID99)
Area
1,451.00km2

25   EarthScope Southern & Eastern California Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
The EarthScope Southern & Eastern California Lidar Project acquired high resolution lidar topography data along major active faults as part of the EarthScope Facility project. EarthScope is funded by NSF and conducted in partnership with the USGS and NASA. GeoEarthScope is a component of EarthScope that includes the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology. EarthScope is managed at UNAVCO.

Please use the following language to acknowledge EarthScope Lidar:
This material is based on services provided to the Plate Boundary Observatory by NCALM (http://www.ncalm.org). PBO is operated by UNAVCO for EarthScope (http://www.earthscope.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation (No. EAR-0350028 and EAR-0732947).


Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
1,683.00km2

26   EarthScope Yakima Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
The EarthScope Yakima Lidar Project acquired high resolution lidar topography data along the Yakima River in Central Washington, as part of the EarthScope Facility project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). EarthScope is funded by NSF and conducted in partnership with the USGS and NASA. GeoEarthScope is a component of EarthScope that includes the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology. EarthScope is managed at UNAVCO.

Please use the following language to acknowledge EarthScope Lidar:
This material is based on services provided to the Plate Boundary Observatory by NCALM (http://www.ncalm.org). PBO is operated by UNAVCO for EarthScope (http://www.earthscope.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation (No. EAR-0350028 and EAR-0732947).


Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
371.00km2

27   EarthScope Alaska Denali Totschunda Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
The EarthScope Alaska Denali-Totschunda Lidar project acquired high-resolution lidar topography data along the Denali-Totschunda fault system as part of the EarthScope Facility project. EarthScope is funded by NSF and conducted in partnership with the USGS and NASA. GeoEarthScope is a component of EarthScope that includes the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology. GeoEarthScope is managed at UNAVCO.

Please use the following language to acknowledge EarthScope Lidar:
This material is based on services provided to the Plate Boundary Observatory by NCALM (http://www.ncalm.org). PBO is operated by UNAVCO for EarthScope (http://www.earthscope.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation (No. EAR-0350028 and EAR-0732947).


Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
410.00km2

28   EarthScope Intermountain Seismic Belt Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
The EarthScope Intermountain Seismic Belt Lidar project acquired high resolution lidar topography data in tectonically active regions in Utah and Wyoming, including Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, as part of the EarthScope Facility project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). EarthScope is funded by NSF and conducted in partnership with the USGS and NASA. GeoEarthScope is a component of EarthScope that includes the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology. EarthScope is managed at UNAVCO.

Please use the following language to acknowledge EarthScope Lidar:
This material is based on services provided to the Plate Boundary Observatory by NCALM (http://www.ncalm.org). PBO is operated by UNAVCO for EarthScope (http://www.earthscope.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation (No. EAR-0350028 and EAR-0732947).


Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
830.00km2

29   EarthScope Northern California Lidar Imagery  
 
Description:
The EarthScope Northern California Lidar project acquired high resolution airborne laser swath mapping imagery along major active faults as part of the EarthScope Facility project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Between this project and the previously conducted B4 project, also funded by NSF, the entire San Andreas fault system has now been imaged with high resolution airborne lidar, along with many other important geologic features. EarthScope is funded by NSF and conducted in partnership with the USGS and NASA. GeoEarthScope is a component of EarthScope that includes the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology. EarthScope is managed at UNAVCO.

Please use the following language to acknowledge EarthScope Lidar:
This material is based on services provided to the Plate Boundary Observatory by NCALM (http://www.ncalm.org). PBO is operated by UNAVCO for EarthScope (http://www.earthscope.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation (No. EAR-0350028 and EAR-0732947).


Horiz. Coordinates
WGS84 [EPSG: 4326]
Vertical Coordinates
WGS84
Area
2,448.00km2


For information on the size of the datasets above see our dataset metrics page and for usage information see our usage metrics page.