Paper No. 313-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM
FROM ZERO TO A TRILLION – REFLECTIONS ON NINE YEARS OF OPENTOPOGRAPHY, A PLATFORM TO ENABLE OPEN ACCESS TO HIGH RESOLUTION TOPOGRAPHY
This year, OpenTopography, a National Science Foundation supported data facility oriented towards high-resolution topographic data, exceeded a trillion lidar points freely accessible via a Web-based portal (http://opentopography.org/). This milestone comes nine years after the initiation of OpenTopography in fall 2008, and is the product of considerable cyberinfrastructure development and partnerships with organizations that fund and collect lidar data. During this period, lidar point cloud data and derivative digital elevation models have become a fundamental observable for Earth and environmental science, engineering, and education. Sampling the Earth’s surface, its vegetation cover, and the built environment at sub-meter length scales, these data (and their changes in time) provide a powerful geometric measure of Earth processes. As appreciation for the power of lidar data has grown, investments in the collection of these data have increased, and issues related to data sharing have emerged. OpenTopography is a community-oriented initiative that emphasizes easy and free online access to point cloud data collocated with tools for on demand processing and generation of derivatives. In addition to data access, OpenTopography has also been a leader in training the Earth science community to process and analyze lidar data through an extensive short course program. With nearly 18,000 registered users and an order magnitude more guest users, OpenTopography has a rapidly growing community using data for a myriad of applications.
This presentation will reflect upon the state of OpenTopography and lessons learned. We’ll highlight new cyberinfrastructure developments to enhance management and processing of high resolution topographic data; partnerships and collaborations; and will discuss emerging opportunities and challenges associated with the proliferation of high resolution topographic data (“ubiquitous point clouds”) enabled by UAS, structure from motion photogrammetry, and low cost lidar.