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Lidar and Google Earth; simplifying access to high-resolution topography data

Christopher J. Crosby
Lidar and Google Earth; simplifying access to high-resolution topography data (in Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research, Steven J. Whitmeyer (editor), John E. Bailey (editor), Declan G. De Paor (editor) and Tina Ornduff (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (October 2012) 492: 37-47

Abstract

High-resolution topography data acquired with lidar (light detection and ranging) technology are revolutionizing the way we study Earth surface processes. These data permit analysis of the mechanisms that drive landscape evolution at resolutions not previously possible yet essential for their appropriate representation. Unfortunately, the volume of data produced by the technology, software requirements, and a steep learning curve are barriers to lidar utilization. To encourage access to these data we use Keyhole Markup Language (KML) and Google Earth to deliver lidar-derived visualizations of these data for research and educational purposes. Display of full-resolution images derived from lidar in the Google Earth virtual globe is a powerful way to view and explore these data. Through region-dependent network linked KML (a.k.a., super-overlay), users are able to access lidar-derived imagery stored on a remote server from within Google Earth. This method provides seamless, Internet-based access to imagery through the simple download of a small KML-format file from the OpenTopography Facility portal. Lidar-derived imagery in Google Earth is the most popular product available via OpenTopography and has greatly enhanced the usability and thus impact of these data. Users ranging from scientists to K-12 educators have downloaded KML files approximately 12,000 times during the first eight months of 2011. The overwhelming usage of these data products demonstrates the impact of this simple yet novel approach for delivering easy to use lidar data visualizations to Earth scientists, students, and the general public.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 492
Title: Lidar and Google Earth; simplifying access to high-resolution topography data
Title: Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research
Author(s): Crosby, Christopher J.
Author(s): Whitmeyer, Steven J.editor
Author(s): Bailey, John E.editor
Author(s): De Paor, Declan G.editor
Author(s): Ornduff, Tinaeditor
Affiliation: University of California at San Diego, San Diego Supercomputer Center, San Diego, CA, United States
Affiliation: James Madison University, Department of Geology, Harrisonburg, VA, United States
Pages: 37-47
Published: 201210
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2492-8
Meeting name: 2011 GSA Penrose conference, Google Earth and virtual visualizations in geoscience education and research
Meeting location: Mountain View, CA, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20110104Jan. 4-8, 2011
References: 20
Accession Number: 2013-010876
Categories: Geomorphology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
N32°30'00" - N42°00'00", W124°30'00" - W114°15'00"
N38°55'60" - N39°13'60", W120°10'00" - W119°57'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA, United StatesOld Dominion University, USA, United StatesGoogle, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201308
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