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1999 USACE Bathymetric LiDAR: Hawaiian Islands

browse graphicThis kmz file shows the extent of coverage for the 1999 USACE Hawaiian Isalnds bathymetric lidar data.
These data were collected by the SHOALS (Scanning Hydrographic Operational Airborne Lidar Survey) system which consists of an airborne laser transmitter/receiver capable of measuring 400 soundings per second. The system operates from a deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter flying at altitudes between 200 and 400 meters with a ground speed of about 100 knots. The SHOALS system also includes a ground-based data processing system for calculating acurate horizontal position and water depth. Lidar is an acronym for LIght Detection And Ranging. The system operates by emitting a pulse of light that travels from an airborne platform to the water surface where a small portion of the laser energy is backscattered to the airborne receiver. The remaining energy at the water's surface propogates through the water column and reflects off the sea bottom and back to the airborne detector. The time difference between the surface return and the bottom return corresponds to water depth. The maximum depth the system is able to sense is related to the complex interaction of radiance of bottom material, incident sun angle and intensity, and the type and quantity of organics or sediments in the water column. As a rule-of-thumb, the SHOALS system should be capable of sensing bottom to depths equal to two or three times the Secchi depth.
Cite this dataset when used as a source.
Online Access
  • Online access is not available for this resource
Distribution Formats
  • LAZ
Distributor DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dataset Point of Contact Data Production Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of eXpertise (JALBTCX)
228-252-1131 228-252-1121
Documentation links not available.
  • publication: 2013-03-01
Data Presentation Form: Digital image
Dataset Progress Status Complete
Data Update Frequency: As needed
Purpose: The purpose of the survey was to investigate the near-shore bathymetry and coral reefs near the west shore of Oahu, the south shore of Moloka'i and all the shores of Maui.
Use Limitations
  • These data depict the elevations at the time of the survey and are only accurate for that time. Users should be aware that temporal changes may have occurred since this data set was collected and some parts of this data may no longer represent actual surface conditions. Users should not use this data for critical applications without a full awareness of its limitations. Any conclusions drawn from analysis of this information are not the responsibility of NOAA or any of its partners. These data are NOT to be used for navigational purposes.
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of eXpertise (JALBTCX)
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Time Period: 1999-03-01 to 1999-04-01
Spatial Reference System: urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4269 Ellipsoid in Meters
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
N: 22.255076
S: 20.567028
E: -155.969318
W: -159.802450
Spatial Coverage Map:
Theme keywords
  • Topography/Bathymetry
  • LiDAR
  • LAS
  • lidar survey
  • Hydrographic Survey
Place keywords
  • USA
  • Hawaii
  • Oahu
  • Moloka'i
  • Maui
Use Constraints No constraint information available
Fees Fee information not available.
Lineage information for: dataset
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers of Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Processing Steps
  • 1999-12-01T00:00:00 - The SHOALS airborne system acquires a tremendous volume of raw data during a single mission. The lidar data are unique and require a specialized Data Processing System (DPS) for post-processing. The DPS main funcions 1) import airborne data stored on high density datatape; 2) perform quality control checks on initial depths and horizontal positions; 3) provide display and edit capabilities; 4) calculate depth and position (XYZ) values for each sounding; and 5) output final positions and depths for each sounding. DPS possesses a fully automated capability to post-process the data to obtain corrected depth and horizontal positions within the specified system accuracies. This is accomplished by accurately identifying the surface and bottom returns from the airborne data. Depths are determined by computing the time difference between the arrival of the surface and bottom returns. Corrections are computed and applied for depth biases associated with light propogation, water level fluctuations, and various inherent system characteristics. Surface waves are modeled and removed so that depths can be referenced to a common mean water surface. Applying tidal corrections then produces a depth reference to a known water level datum. A manual processing capability also allows evaluation of anomalous data by providing display and edit functions of sounding data and system parameters. Video imagery of the survey area permits visual scutiny of the area to aid the hydrographer in deciding whether to exclude suspect data from further processing. Output from the DPS is a digital data set of XYZ (positions/depths) for each laser sounding that is compatible with most most GIS and other contouring and mapping systems.
  • 2012-01-01T00:00:00 - The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) received topographic files in ASCII format. The files contained bathymetric depth measurements. Some sections of the data were received in NAD27 Hawaii State Plane (various zones), other sections were received in NAD27 UTM Zones 4 and 5. The data were vertically referenced to MLLW (feet or meters). CSC performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes: 1. The topographic las files were converted from Projected coordinates (State Plane or UTM) to Geographic coordinates. 2. If the vertical units were feet they were converted to meters. 3. The data were converted from ASCII to LAS V1.2 4. All points were classified to Class 11 (Bathymetry). 5. The data were converted to LAZ format.
  • 2013-03-28T00:00:00 - The NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) received lidar data files via ftp transfer from the NOAA Coastal Services Center. The data are currently being served via NOAA CSC Digital Coast at The data can be used to re-populate the system. The data are archived in LAS or LAZ format. The LAS format is an industry standard for LiDAR data developed by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS); LAZ is a loseless compressed version of LAS developed by Martin Isenburg ( The data are exclusively in geographic coordinates (either NAD83 or ITRF94). The data are referenced vertically to the ellipsoid (either GRS80 or ITRF94), allowing for the ability to apply the most up to date geoid model when transforming to orthometric heights.
Last Modified: 2013-03-28
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