Lidar Used to Discover Ancient Maya Structures

Image Courtesy Wild Blue Media/National Geographic

Tens of thousands of ancient Maya structures have been discovered in Guatemala with the aid of aerial lidar.This is being hailed as one of the most important discoveries in recent times.

Marcello Canuto, a Tulane University archaeologist, who also took part in the research, said –

…”this was a civilization that was literally moving mountains. We’ve had this western conceit that complex civilizations can’t flourish in the tropics, that the tropics are where civilizations go to die. But with the new LiDAR-based evidence from Central America and [Cambodia’s] Angkor Wat, we now have to consider that complex societies may have formed in the tropics and made their way outward from there.”

Be sure to check out the video to get an idea of just how dense the forest is in this area and see augmented reality in purposeful action.


This entry was posted in airborne LiDAR, archaeology, cultural heritage, Forestry, Historic Preservation, Mapping, remote sensing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lidar Used to Discover Ancient Maya Structures

  1. Paul LaRocque says:

    Virtually all the general news stories neglected to mention this data was collected by NCALM with the Teledyne Optech Titan lidar . Something that Lidar News readers should know.

  2. Most of those LiDAR campaigns for archaeology of the past were sponsored privately or my a foundation and have a closed data policy. If NCALM flew it (and if the NSF paid for it?!?) then maybe these 2000 square kilometer of LiDAR data will eventually end up as open data on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.