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LiDAR Equipment, Software & Technical Support

TLS support has been used in the Arctic and Antarctic for a wide variety of projects. [Left] PI Joe Levy of UT-Austin with UNAVCO TLS instrument (Riegl VZ-400) in Garwood Valley, Antarctica, where Dr. Levy is studying the thermokarst feature in the background. [Middle] PI Gerry Bigelow from Bates College oversees the excavation of a late 17th century farmstead in the Shetland Islands. [Right] UNAVCO engineers scan the inner crater of Mount Erebus, Antarctica's lone active volcano. For more information please see project highlights.

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanners create 3D point cloud datasets of subjects by illuminating targets with a laser light and determining from the return information properties such as range and intensity of return. UNAVCO first acquired a Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) instrument in January of 2008 under an NSF-OPP MRI entitled "Acquisition of a Terrestrial Laser Scanning System for Polar Research". The scanner, an Optech ILRIS-3D, was used to support over two dozen geoscience projects primarily in polar regions such as Antarctica, Iceland and northern Alaska. In 2012, the instrument was retired, and the UNAVCO Polar TLS equipment pool is now comprised of two Riegl instruments with additional scanners available through UNAVCO's Earth Sciences facility (see below for more information).

The standard TLS data product provided by UNAVCO is a merged, aligned georeferenced point cloud that provides a high resolution 3D map or image of surfaces and objects on the meter to kilometer scale with centimeter to subcentimeter precision and point density. Repeat scans of subject areas provide the ability to detect changes in landforms and surfaces over time, and the integration of a digital camera system allows point clouds to be colored, making them more life-like in appearance. Scan projects and associated data projects are stored and available on UNAVCO's TLS data archive, currently under development.

The following resources are available for PI project applications in polar regions:




See also TLS Support at UNAVCO.

Last modified: 2019-12-24  02:12:29  America/Denver