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2007 USGS/NPS/NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL): Northern Gulf of Mexico Barrier Islands

A bare earth elevation map (also known as a Digital Elevation Model, or DEM) of the northern Gulf of Mexico barrier islands and Naval Live Oaks was produced from remotely sensed, geographically referenced elevation measurements cooperatively by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Park Service (NPS), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This data set provides the those bare earth elevation measurements of the barrier islands in the following counties: St. Bernard in LA, Harrison and Jackson in MS, Mobile and Baldwin in AL, and Escambia and Santa Rosa in FL. Elevation measurements were collected over the area 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 surveyed easily within a 3- to 4-hour mission. When subsequent elevation maps for an area are analyzed, they provide managers with a useful tool to make management decisions regarding land development.

Cite this dataset when used as a source.

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    Distribution Formats
    • LAZ
    Distributor DOC/NOAA/NOS/CSC > Coastal Services Center, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Point of Contact Amar Nayegandhi or John Brock at USGS
    Jacobs Technology, contracted to USGS
    727-803-8747 x3026
    anayegandhi@usgs.gov
    jbrock@usgs.gov
    Documentation links not available.
    Originator
    • DOC/NOAA/NOS/CSC > Coastal Services Center, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Originator
    • DOI/USGS > United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior
    Originator
    • DOI/NPS > National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
    Originator
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    Publisher
    • DOC/NOAA/NOS/CSC > Coastal Services Center, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Date(s)
    • publication: 2009-01-01
    Data Presentation Form: Digital image
    Dataset Progress Status Complete
    Data Update Frequency: Not planned
    Supplemental Information: Unprocessed 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 unprocessed 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 unprocessed waveform Lidar data acquired by the EAARL to georeferenced spot (x, y, z) returns for "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 are named after the U.S. Geological Survey Alpha Quarter-Quad naming convention ('QQ_naming_convention.doc'). The development of custom software for creating these data products has been supported by the U.S. Geological Survey CMG Program's Decision Support for Coastal Parks, Sanctuaries, and Preserves project. Processed data products are used by the U.S. Geological Survey 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.
    Purpose: The purpose of this project was to produce a highly detailed and accurate bare earth digital elevation map of the northern Gulf of Mexico barrier islands for use as a management tool and to make these data available to natural resource managers and research scientists.
    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.
    Time Period: 2007-06-27  to  2007-06-30
    Spatial Reference System: urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4269 Ellipsoid in Meters
    Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
    N: 30.389948
    S: 29.762884
    E: -87.083264
    W: -89.203490
    Spatial Coverage Map:
    Themes
    • Bathymetry/Topography
    • Lidar
    • Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar
    • EAARL
    • Digital Elevation Model
    • elevation change
    • laser altimetry
    • derived surface
    • resource management
    • ALPS
    • Advanced Lidar Processing System
    • Hurricanes
    • bare earth
    Places
    • US
    • Florida
    • Mississippi
    • Alabama
    • Gulf of Mexico
    • Baldwin County
    • Mobile County
    • Jackson County
    • Harrison County
    • St. Bernard County
    • Escambia County
    • Santa Rosa County
    • Cat Island
    • Petit Bois Island
    • Dauphin Island
    • Chandeleur Islands
    • Horn Island
    • Ship Island
    • Santa Rosa Island
    • Perdido Key
    • Naval Live Oaks
    Use Constraints No constraint information available
    Fees Fee information not available.
    Lineage Statement Lineage statement not available.
    Processor
    • Jacobs Technology, U. S. Geological Survey, FISC St. Petersburg
    • DOC/NOAA/NOS/CSC > Coastal Services Center, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
    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 office in St. Petersburg and the NASA office at Wallops Flight Facility. The navigational data are processed at Wallops Flight Facility. The navigational and unprocessed 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 16 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 heights.

    Metadata Last Modified: 2013-06-07

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