A new Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) initiative is using LiDAR to map Saint Lucia for the very first time.
The initiative is the latest in a series of major activities under the Disaster Vulnerability program, including steps toward the development of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure to enhance the country’s systems for spatial data management and sharing to inform better planning and decision making.
LiDAR products, such as high-resolution elevation models and aerial photos of Saint Lucia’s land terrain and sea floor, have extremely important planning and problem-solving applications that hold the power to significantly improve life in Saint Lucia today, ten years from now, or even further down the road. The LiDAR products will be made accessible to Government and private-sector actors to support their daily work and decisions.
Suzanna Aurelien, Cartographer V at the Department of Physical Planning gave two examples of how LiDAR products can be applied.
“We will be able to assess the health of our coral reefs; this is imperative to the survival of our fisheries industry as well as our tourism industry.” She added, “because our coast is at sea level and sometimes below sea level, it will help us with flood modelling and putting designs in place to mitigate the impact of flooding.”
One can add to this list other LiDAR applications that may be used for natural hazard mapping; land use, transportation and infrastructure planning; management of infectious and vector borne diseases such as the novel COVID-19 virus as well as more commonly known diseases such as dengue fever; and agriculture, forestry, environment and tourism asset management. For instance, risks and impacts of landslides, soil erosion, and tsunami impact can be reliably modeled using LiDAR products, leading to better protection for communities affected by these hazards. LiDAR products can also be used to find the most suitable and safest sites for hotel and other developments.
LiDAR data collected in the past for a limited area in the southwest is being applied to explore geothermal resources deemed to be a potential opportunity for making Saint Lucia a renewable energy giant and for transforming its economy. LiDAR can also be applied to explore other potential renewable energy opportunities on island.
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