2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 144-4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM-2:30 PM

ENHANCING ACCESS TO HIGH-RESOLUTION LIDAR TOPOGRAPHY FROM POINT CLOUDS TO GOOGLE EARTH

CROSBY, Christopher J.1, NANDIGAM, Viswanath1, ARROWSMITH, Ramon2, and BARU, Chaitan3, (1) San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, MC 0505, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0505, ccrosby@sdsc.edu, (2) School of Earth and Space Exploration, EarthScope National Office, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, (3) San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. #0505, La Jolla, CA 92093

Over the past decade, there has been dramatic growth in the acquisition of LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) high-resolution topographic data for earth science studies. Capable of providing digital elevation models (DEMs) more than an order of magnitude higher resolution than those currently available, LiDAR data allow earth scientists to study the processes that contribute to landscape evolution at resolutions not previously possible yet essential for their appropriate representation. These datasets also have significant implications for earth science education and outreach because they provide an accurate representation of landforms and geologic hazards. Unfortunately, the massive volume of data produced by LiDAR mapping technology can be a barrier to their use. To make these data available to a larger user community, we have developed the OpenTopography Portal (www.opentopography.org), to provide internet-based access to LiDAR point cloud data, high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) and Google Earth-based visualizations.

The OpenTopography Portal harnesses cyberinfrastructure technology to provide access to LiDAR data in a variety of formats. Data products available range from simple Google Earth visualizations of LiDAR-derived hillshades to 1 km2 tiles of standard digital elevation model products as well as LiDAR point cloud data and dynamically generated custom-DEMs. We have found that the wide spectrum of LiDAR users have variable scientific applications, computing resources and technical experience and thus require a data distribution system that provides various levels of access to the data. Thus, the OpenTopography Portal uses a multi-tiered approach to ensure access to high-resolution topographic data for users ranging from LiDAR experts to novices and students.

Currently, the OpenTopography Portal hosts LiDAR topography that spans a variety of geologic domains and landscapes. As host to the NSF-funded GeoEarthScope LiDAR data, OpenTopography provides access to high-resolution topographic data for many of the active faults in the Western United States. Thousands of users have accessed data via the Portal and the system is currently being used in activities ranging from geomorphology research to education and outreach.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 144
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach
Oregon Convention Center: B117/118/119
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 19 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 384

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