2007 USGS/NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL): Northeast US
(New York, New Jersey) Coastal Barrier Islands
ASCII xyz point cloud data were produced from remotely sensed, geographically referenced
elevation measurements cooperatively by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Elevation measurements were collected
over the barrier island areas of Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York and Monmouth
County in New Jersey, using the NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar
(EAARL), a pulsed laser ranging system mounted onboard an aircraft to measure ground
elevation, vegetation canopy, and coastal topography. The system uses high-frequency
laser beams directed at the Earth's surface through an opening in the bottom of the
aircraft's fuselage. The laser system records the time difference between emission
of the laser beam and the reception of the reflected laser signal in the aircraft.
The plane travels over the target area at approximately 50 meters per second at an
elevation of approximately 300 meters. The EAARL, developed by NASA at Wallops Flight
Facility in Virginia, measures ground elevation with a vertical resolution of 15 centimeters.
A sampling rate of 3 kilohertz or higher results in an extremely dense spatial elevation
dataset. Over 100 kilometers of coastline can be easily surveyed within a 3- to 4-hour
mission time period. When subsequent elevation maps for an area are analyzed, they
provide a useful tool to make management decisions regarding land development.
Cite this dataset when used as a source.
|Search and Download
|| Distributor information not available
| Point of Contact
Jacobs Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, FISC
Documentation links not available.
- DOI/USGS > United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
|Data Presentation Form:
|| Digital image
|Dataset Progress Status
|Data Update Frequency:
|| Not planned
||Raw Lidar data are not in a format that is generally usable by resource managers and
scientists. Converting dense Lidar elevation data into a readily usable format without
loss of essential information requires specialized processing. The U.S. Geological
Survey's Coastal and Marine Geology (CMG) Program has developed custom software to
convert raw Lidar data into a GIS-compatible map product to be provided to GIS specialists,
managers, and scientists. The primary tool used in the conversion process is Advanced
Lidar Processing System (ALPS), a multi-tiered processing system developed by a USGS-NASA
collaborative project. Specialized processing algorithms are used to convert raw waveform
Lidar data acquired by the EAARL to georeferenced spot (x, y, z) returns for "first
surface" and "bare earth" topography. These data are then converted to the North American
Datum of 1983 and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (using the Geoid 03 model).
The files are in the Quarter-Quad tiling format, and the exact tile location is contained
in the filename at n88_########_mf_be, where ####### is the Quarter-Quad tile ID.
The development of custom software for creating these data products has been supported
by the USGS CMG Program's Decision Support for Coastal Parks, Sanctuaries, and Preserves
project. Processed data products are used by the USGS CMG Program's National Assessments
of Coastal Change Hazards project to quantify the vulnerability of shorelines to coastal
change hazards such as severe storms, sea-level rise, and shoreline erosion and retreat.
||The ASCII elevation data can be used to create raster Digital Elevation Models (DEMs).
The purpose of this project is to produce highly detailed and accurate digital elevation
maps of the northeast coastal barrier islands for use as a management tool and to
make these data available to natural resource managers and research scientists.
|| Unknown to Unknown
|Spatial Reference System:
|Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
|Spatial Coverage Map:
- Airborne Lidar Processing System
- Digital Elevation Model
- Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar
- laser altimetry
- remote sensing
- bare earth
- New York
- New Jersey
- Northeast Coastal Barrier Islands
- Nassau County
- Suffolk County
- Monmouth County
- Fire Island
- Long Island
- Montauk Point
- Sandy Hook
| Use Constraints
|| No constraint information available
|| Fee information not available.
|| Lineage statement not available.
- Jacobs Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, FISC, St. Petersburg, FL
- DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department
| Processing Steps
- The data are collected using a Cessna 310 aircraft. The NASA Experimental Advanced
Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) laser scanner collects the data using a green (532-nm)
raster scanning laser, while a digital camera acquires a visual record of the flight.
The data are stored on hard drives and archived at the U.S. Geological Survey, FISC,
St. Petersburg, Florida office and the NASA office at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The navigational data are processed at Wallops Flight Facility. The navigational and
raw data are then downloaded into the Advanced Lidar Processing System (ALPS). Data
are converted from units of time to x, y, z points for elevation. The derived surface
data can then be converted into raster data (GeoTIFFs).
- The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) received files in LAS format. The files contained
LiDAR intensity and elevation measurements. CSC performed the following processing
on the data to make it available within Digital Coast: 1. The data were converted
from UTM Zone 18 coordinates to geographic coordinates. 2. The data were converted
from NAVD88 heights to ellipsoid heights using Geoid03. 3. The LAS header fields were
sorted by latitude and updated.
- 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 http://www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/.
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 (http://www.laszip.org/). 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
Metadata Last Modified: 2013-06-07
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