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New EarthScope Airborne LiDAR Data Products from California and Washington State Released in January 2010


New EarthScope airborne LiDAR data products from California and Washington state were announced in January 2010. With this release, DEM tiles and KML files from all southern and eastern California targets are now available, including faults in the Mojave (Lenwood, Helendale, Calico, Blackwater), eastern California (Panamint, Tin Mtn, Mud Hills, Hunter Mtn, Owens) and San Cayetano. Of these new targets, point cloud data are currently online for Panamint, Ash Hill, Tin Mtn and San Cayetano, with point data for all remaining targets to follow shortly. Also with this release, KML files and point cloud data from the Yakima fold and thrust belt in Washington are now available. DEM tiles will follow shortly. Figures 1 and 2 show examples of these new imagery data products as viewed in Google Earth via the KML file.

EarthScope airborne LiDAR imagery data were collected through GeoEarthScope, a component of the EarthScope MREFC project that concluded in 2008. GeoEarthScope included the acquisition of aerial and satellite imagery and geochronology to examine the strain field beyond the decade time scales available from the PBO geodetic instrumentation. Nearly 6,000 km2 of airborne LiDAR data were acquired from the following regions: Northern California, Southern and Eastern California, Intermountain Seismic Belt and Yellowstone, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest as based on guidance from the community.

EarthScope airborne LiDAR data are freely available from the OpenTopography portal at opentopography.org in the following formats:

  • Google Earth hillshades: The easiest way to explore this dataset, users can view filtered (“bare earth”) and unfiltered hillshade images within Google Earth from two different illumination angles. The Google Earth KMZ for the Alaska dataset features a new “slopeshade” illumination layer which provides an alternative visualization of the high relief landscapes in this region. The hillshade KMZ file is available for downloaded at opentopography.org/kml
  • Standard DEM tiles: For more advanced applications, filtered (“bare earth,” fg) and unfiltered (ug) 0.5 m resolution digital elevation models in Arc Binary grid format are also available for download as 1 km^2 tiles. Users can browse and download the available data via an interactive map available at opentopography.org/dems
  • OpenTopography also provides access to raw point cloud data and and web-based tools to process these data into custom DEM products: www.opentopography.org/pointcloud


Funding agency: National Science Foundation

Project management: UNAVCO

Data acquisition, processing and distribution:

  • National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM): LiDAR data collection and processing
  • Ohio State University (OSU): GPS data collection and processing
  • Arizona State University (ASU): data distribution and analysis tools
  • San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC): data distribution and analysis tools


Last modified: 2020-01-28  22:54:22  America/Denver