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Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


CROSBY, Christopher J., San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, MC 0505, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0505, ARROWSMITH, J. Ramón, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, 85287-1404 and ROBINSON, Sarah, EarthScope National Office, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 85287-6004,

Recently collected sub-meter scale LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) topographic data provide an unprecedented representation of major active faults in the western United States and are an important data set for studying tectonic deformation and seismic hazards in the region. Such data, including those collected by the NSF EarthScope program, image plate boundary faults in the San Andreas system in California, as well as structures in the Pacific Northwest, the Intermountain Seismic Belt, and along the Denali fault in Alaska.

Unfortunately, the volume of data produced by the technology, software requirements, and a steep learning curve, can be a barrier 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, education, and outreach purposes. Display of full-resolution hillshade and slopeshade images derived from LiDAR in the Google Earth virtual globe is a powerful way to view and explore these data. The virtual globe environment provides a freely available and easily navigated viewer and enables quick integration of the LiDAR visualizations with imagery, geographic layers, and other relevant data available in KML format.

Through region-dependent network linked KML, users are able to access over 100 GB of remotely hosted LiDAR derived imagery from within Google Earth. This method provides seamless, internet-based, access to both the bare earth and first return imagery. Users simply download a small KMZ-format file from the OpenTopography Facility portal ( and open it in Google Earth to begin browsing the data.

LiDAR-derived imagery in Google Earth has proven to be the most popular product available via the OpenTopography Facility and has greatly enhanced the impact of these data. The EarthScope LiDAR KMZ files have been downloaded over 9000 times by users ranging from earthquake scientists to K-12 educators who wish to introduce real world data into their earth science lessons. We are currently developing new educational resources and teaching modules based on these LiDAR data products. We have also produced Google Earth visualizations for LiDAR data associated with the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Baja California, Mexico.

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