The USGS established CLICK – The Center for LiDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge (http://lidar.cr.usgs.gov/ ) with a mission to “assist users in accessing LIDAR data and provide information to help facilitate LIDAR innovation in the scientific community”. The idea came from a 2002 USGS LIDAR workshop in St. Petersburg, FL, plus a series of meetings and workshops in 2007/2008.
Aerial LIDAR data collections tend to be project specific. The USGS is providing a national level coordination effort via CLICK to help the user community derive the maximum benefit from the data that is being collected. The limiting factor for using LIDAR for scientific applications is usually the cost. Research projects in general cannot afford to acquire the data. CLICK is a potential resource for the scientific community to locate existing LIDAR data sets.
The CLICK web portal is made up of 3 areas:
1. Information – (Data Viewer): The data viewer provides the ability to download available raw point cloud data where it is made available by the owner. The disclaimer states that the data is provided for non-mapping applications. Currently the availability of data appears quite limited, but if you happen to be in the right location, you could get lucky.
2. Coordination – (Bulletin Board): This is the main focus of the current effort as it provides the user community with access to each other. This area is organized into 15 forums, some of which are getting a lot of interest. Definitely an area to visit if you are looking for input.
3. Knowledge – (Websites/References): This area is well worth a look as it has an extensive list of reference sites, including an academic section.
It was noted at a MAPPS meeting this past November that the states are actually in the lead with regards to LIDAR data acquisition. For example, Ohio has statewide LIDAR coverage for each county.
This is just a quick overview. Look for a more in-depth report on CLICK in the next few weeks as I spend some time on the site.