NASA Uses Satellite LiDAR to Create Forest Height Map


The height of the earth’s forests is important to climate change monitoring and global efforts to monitor carbon stocks. NASA in conjunction with the University of Maryland have developed a geodatabase of the world’s forests.

The data was collected from the Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) instrument, in 2005, using the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (Icesat). In addition, the researchers also relied on information from NASA’s Terra satellite, NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the WorldClim database.

It’s amazing to me that a LiDAR sensor can be operated from space.

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2 Responses to NASA Uses Satellite LiDAR to Create Forest Height Map

  1. Paul says:

    Hmm.. Pity the NASA map is not interactive. There is a super level of detail in the data !
    I’ve published South America in an interactive map here:
    You can really see the detail in land clearing patterns along roads in the Amazon basin.

  2. Paul,

    nice map. Is this an actual “tree height” map or is it a “canopy height map”? Are there details anywhere to how your mangomap tree or canopy heights have been computed from the #LiDAR points?


    Martin @lastools

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