National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), NOAA Satellite and Information Service

Back to Collection NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC/MGG/Lidar
View Metadata As: Get Data, FAQ, HTML, 19139 XML
Assess Metadata For: Completeness, DOI Readiness, CSW Readiness, Components

2010 US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of eXpertise (JALBTCX) Lidar: Virginia (Topo)

browse graphicThis kmz file shows the extent of coverage for the 2010 USACE Virginia lidar data set.
These files contain topographic lidar data classified as ground (2) and unclassified (1) in accordance with the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) classification standards. These data were collected by the Compact Hydrographic Airborne Rapid Total Survey (CHARTS) system along the coast of Virginia. CHARTS integrates topographic and bathymetric lidar sensors, a digital camera and a hyperspectral scanner on a single remote sensing platform for use in coastal mapping and charting activities. Data coverage generally extends along the coastline from the waterline inland 500 meters (topography) and offshore 1,000 meters or to laser extinction (bathymetry). The topographic lidar sensor has a pulse repetition rate of 9 kHz at 1064 nm (near-infrared wavelength). The bathymetric lidar sensor has a pulse repetition rate of 1 kHz at 532 nm (green wavelength). Native lidar data is not generally in a format accessible to most Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Specialized in-house and commercial software packages are used to process the native lidar data into 3-dimensional positions that can be imported into GIS software for visualization and further analysis. Horizontal positions, provided in decimal degrees of latitude and longitude, are referenced to the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83). Vertical positions are referenced to the NAD83 ellipsoid and provided in meters. The National Geodetic Survey's (NGS) GEOID03 model is used to transform the vertical positions from ellipsoid to orthometric heights referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). The 3-D position data are sub-divided into a series of LAS files, each covering approximately 5 kilometers of shoreline. The file index is provided by the shape file, "va_boxes_QQ.shp", and the numbers used to identify files are in the "Box" field of the shape file. The LAS file naming convention is based on the year, project, area name, "Box," and the product type. An example file name is "2010_NCMP_VA_28_GeoClassified.las", where 2010 is the year of data collection, NCMP is the project under which data were collected, VA is the area of data collection, 28 is the "Box" number and "GeoClassified" is the product type. The format of the file is LAS version 1.1.

Cite this dataset when used as a source.

Search and Download
    Distribution Formats
    • LAZ
    Distributor Distributor information not available
    Point of Contact
    Documentation links not available.
      • publication: inapplicable
      Data Presentation Form: Digital image
      Dataset Progress Status Complete
      Data Update Frequency: As needed
      Purpose: These data were collected as a part of the NCMP to depict the elevations above the water in the Virginia coastal zone.
      Time Period: 2010-07-28  to  2010-10-01
      Spatial Reference System:
      Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
      N: 37.527331
      S: 36.550955
      E: -75.867256
      W: -76.390491
      Spatial Coverage Map:
      • Bathymetry/Topography
      • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District
      • JALBTCX
      • NCMP
      • USACE
      • JALBTCX
      • CHARTS
      • SHOALS
      • LAS
      • Lidar
      • Coastal Elevation
      • Terrain Elevation
      • Topobathy
      • US
      • Virginia
      • Virginia Beach
      • Portsmouth
      • Craney Island
      • Mathews County
      Use Constraints No constraint information available
      Fees Fee information not available.
      Lineage Statement Lineage statement not available.
      Processing Steps
      • These data were collected using the CHARTS system. It is owned by the Naval Oceanographic Office and operated through contract. The system collects topographic lidar data at 9 kHz, bathymetric lidar data at 1 kHz and RGB imagery at 1Hz. A CASI-1500 hyperspectral line scanner is integrated with the system as well. Aircraft position, velocity and acceleration information are collected through a combination of Novatel and POS A/V 410 equipment. All raw data streams are transferred to the office for downloading and processing in SHOALS GCS software. Aircraft position data are processed using POSPac software and the results are combined with the lidar data to produce 3-D positions for each lidar shot. Upon inspection and QA/QC in the software packages Fledermaus and PFM_ABE, anomalous data are flagged as invalid. PFM_ABE's chartsLAS module then converts all valid data from ellipsoid to orthometric heights based on the NGS' GEOID03 model and exports topographic data as a series of LAS files with a single file per flightline per 5km box.
      • The flightline LAS files are imported into the TerraScan V11 module within MicroStation V8.0. The resulting LAS files are thinned to eliminate duplicate points. A customized classification macro is used to distinguish ground points (2) and unclassified points (1). The classification results are QC'd and any misclassified points are manually edited. In areas of dense vegetation the bare ground points might be incorrectly classified due to the inability of the laser to penetrate the canopy and reach the bare ground. In these areas, JALBTCX defaults to the algorithm's "ground" surface instead of manually reclassifying those points. The points are exported to an ASCII file containing the following fields: longitude, latitude, elevation (orthometric), intensity, classification, mirror angle, time (GPS time), number of echos, and echo number. The ASCII file is converted to LAS with the txt2las code from LAStools (<>).
      • The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) received data in LAS v1.1 format. The files contained LiDAR elevation and intensity measurements. The data were received in geographic coordinates (NAD83) and vertically referenced to NAVD88 using the Geoid03 model. The vertical units of data were meters. The data were classified according to ASPRS LAS classification scheme (1 = unclassified, 2 = ground). CSC performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes: 1. The LAS files were converted from orthometric heights to ellipsoidal heights (GRS80) using Geoid 03. 2. The LAS data were sorted by latitude and the headers were updated. 3. The data were converted to LAZ format.
      • 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.

      Metadata Last Modified: 2013-01-22

      For questions about the information on this page, please email: