Chris Hopkinson – Lidar Pioneer


Chris Hokinson, seen above shared this interesting article on his current use of lidar to better understand the the Northern Canadian landscape. Chris is one of the hands on, airborne lidar research pioneers.

Research chair Chris Hopkinson has been surveying the territory since 2000, and says a lot has changed since then, noting the high rate of permafrost thaw, the death of trees and changes to the ecosystem.

He says the new laser system is “much more sophisticated” than what they used in the past.

“It’s much higher resolution, much faster repetition rates, so we can make over a million measurements per second — so that’s kinda cool. But in addition, it captures data in three different dimensions,” Hopkinson said.

He said it’s a new way to monitor ecosystem health, so he’s calling it “ecosystem diagnostic imaging.”

“Putting these three wavelengths together allows us to kind of colourize the landscape, as we would with a photograph, except we see different things than a traditional photograph would see.”

The two-week mission will also bring the team to Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson, then they’ll return to Alberta to survey near Fort McMurray, Slave Lake and the Calgary area.


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