Researchers at the U.S. Forest Service and University of Utah are working together to utilize lidar to help firefighters plan escape routes from wildland fires.
“What we’re doing is using lidar to map the most efficient routes to safety for wildland firefighters,” said Mickey Campbell at the University of Utah, who is working on this research which he describes as almost like a Google Maps for firefighters.
“What we’re doing is mapping three different different landscape conditions on the ground. The first being the slope of the terrain. The second being the density of the vegetation and the third being kind of the roughness of the ground’s surface,” he said.
Using lidar they map these variables and based on their understanding the degree to which these variables slow someone down they can determine the most efficient route to safety from any location. Eventually this would be an app on a phone or GPS.
Of course the lidar data must be available for the area in question. Just another justification for supporting 3DEP.