Application of airborne altimetric LIDAR is disaster management: an overview
Department of Civil Engineering,
Institute of Technology
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi - 221 005
The idea of using an airborne laser for measuring elevations was first conceived in late sixties. However, the actual developments in the technology of airborne altimetric LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) only emerged with some parallel advancements in the field of position and attitude measurement using GPS (Global Positioning System) and IRS (Inertial Reference System). Notwithstanding its comparatively recent emergence, the pace of development in LiDAR has been very rapid. The technology is now being considered as the most appropriate method for altimetry. Based on the principle of measuring travel time of a laser pulse from an airborne sensor to the ground and back, the instrument determines the coordinate of the ground point that is struck by the laser pulse. The location and attitude of the airborne platform, required in computing the ground coordinates, are obtained using the onboard GPS and IRS. The scanning mechanism of laser sensor and forward movement of airborne platform result in measurement of several points on the terrain. In view of the efficient and accurate altimetry produced by LiDAR its use is gaining momentum in several application areas including the disaster management.
Literature review reveals that the LiDAR has been used in gathering information to manage various natural and artificial disasters. In addition, LiDAR, due to its unique data collection properties, is also finding use in several other application areas not deemed feasible hitherto. This paper aims at describing the state-of-the-art in LiDAR technology, its merit and demerit, and an overview of its present and prospective uses in disaster management.
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