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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

Lidar for Science and Resource Management

The Lidar for Science and Resource Management (LSRM) project, sponsored by the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) is supporting the creation of new capabilities for the synoptic remote sensing of coastal-marine and terrestrial environments based on aircraft and satellite sensors. These coastal remote-sensing, mapping, and point-monitoring tools constitute a unique integrated package of instrumentation and software that may be deployed in support of appropriately timed and scaled zoning decisions by management authorities in order to conserve and sensibly exploit nearshore coastal and marine ecosystems.

Read: Project Overview & Objectives


Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) imageEAARL Sensor - The Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) is an airborne lidar system that provides unique capabilities to survey coral reefs, nearshore benthic habitats, coastal vegetation, and sandy beaches. Read more
 Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS) imageALPS Software – The Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS) software, developed in an open-source programming environment on a Linux platform, enables the exploration and processing of data acquired by the EAARL system in an interactive or batch mode. Read more


Lidar Topography Mapping imageLidar Topographic and Bathymetric Mapping in NPS Parks – Lidar data acquired by the USGS in collaboration with NPS are being used to inventory and monitor marine benthic communities, barrier island geomorphology and vegetated habitats along coastlines for National Parks. Read more
Lidar-based volumetric change analysis imageBarrier Island Volumetric Change Analysis – Lidar-based volumetric change analysis along barrier islands provides a valuable tool in quantifying morphologic change following major storm events. Read more
Vegetation Metrics imageLidar-based vegetation metrics – As a full-waveform digitizing lidar, the small-footprint EAARL waveforms can be used to generate accurate estimates of vertical canopy structure in coastal vegetation communities. Read more
Lidar-based vegetation DelineationVegetation Delineation – Lidar-based vegetation metrics at 5-m-resolution of bare-Earth (BE), canopy heights (CH), canopy-reflection ratio (CRR), and height of median energy (HOME) were used as input to a model-based approach to delineate coastal vegetation communities. Read more

use of aircraft lidar and multi-spectral imagingCoral reef applications – Special emphasis has been placed on the use of aircraft lidar and multi-spectral imaging to map coral reef ecosystem geomorphology, topographic roughness, and habitats at spatial scales finer than 2 meters. Read more

Other mapping tools

Data Products

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Recent Publications


EAARL: An Airborne LiDAR System for Mapping Coastal and Riverine Environments

Small-footprint, waveform-resolving lidar estimation of submerged and sub-canopy topography in coastal environments

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Data Series:

EAARL coastal topography and imagery–Western Louisiana, post-Hurricane Rita, 2005

EAARL coastal topography–North Shore, Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, 2010

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Open-File Reports:

Unsupervised classification of lidar-based vegetation structure metrics at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Geomorphology and depositional subenvironments of Gulf Islands National Seashore, Perdido Key and Santa Rosa Island, Florida

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The Lidar for Science and Resource Management Project is sponsored by
the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP)

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