Lidar is a laser-based technology used to map land, beach, and underwater elevations. Planes equipped with lidar sensors have been surveying much of Lake Superior’s nearshore bathymetry since early July, and as of August 12, 2010, this bathymetric lidar data collection effort is complete.
Over 900 linear kilometers of data were collected in forty-seven days. This exceeded the requirements of the contract by close to 200 linear kilometers, as the original requirement was for collection of 725 linear kilometers of data. Fugro Lads used the LADS MkII system to collect the bathymetric lidar along the shoreline up to 1000 m lakeward or to the extinction of the laser. The same system was used to collect lidar points on land to approximately 30 m inland, so that this collection could be tied to existing and future topographic lidar collections.
This effort, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, was extremely successful and will yield data that is greater than 85% very good or good depth coverage. Data in these categories typically extends out to around 20m depth. The raw data will now undergo a refinement process and a quality assurance process. The final data will be delivered to the federal government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (Center), and the data will be served from the Center’s Digital Coast website by the winter of 2011. Through this website the data will be available for use, free of charge.
Standardized data protocols for processing, assuring quality, and serving the data will be followed, which means a wide variety of organizations can use these data for many different uses. Uses for this dataset are wide-ranging, including planning for restoration efforts, remediating stamp sands, evaluating essential fish habitat, enhancing navigation, and developing scenarios for lake level drop.
photo courtesy of Minn. Sea Grant