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2009 National Renewable Energy Labratory/Boston Redevelopment Authority Topographic LiDAR: Boston, Massachusetts

browse graphicThis kmz file shows the extent of coverage for the 2009 NREL/ASE/BRA Boston, MA lidar data set.
The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC contracted with Sanborn to provide LiDAR mapping services for the Boston area. Utilizing multi-return systems, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data in the form of 3-dimensional positions of a dense set of mass points was collected for approximately 90 square miles. All systems consist of geodetic GPS positioning, orientation derived from high-end inertial sensors and high-accurate lasers. The sensor is attached to the aircraft?s underside and emits rapid pulses of light that are used to determine distances between the plane and terrain below. Specifically, the Leica ALS-50 LiDAR system was used to collect data for the survey campaign. The LiDAR system is calibrated by conducting flight passes over a known ground surface before and after each LiDAR mission. During final data processing, the calibration parameters are inserted into post-processing software. Lidar Acquisition Parameters: Instrument: Leica ALS50 Flight Altitude: ~ 1500m AGL Airspeed: ~ 120 Knots Scan Frequency: 46 Hertz Pulse Rate: 74,400 Hertz Scan Width Half Angle: 25 Degrees Sidelap: 30% This Lidar survey acheived a point spacing of 1.0 meter.

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    Distribution Formats
    • LAZ
    Distributor Distributor information not available
    Point of Contact
    Associated Resources
    • Lidar Final Report
    • DOE/EERE/NREL > National Renewable Energy Labratory, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
    • Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (ASE)
    • Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)
      • publication: 2013-09-01
      Data Presentation Form: Digital image
      Dataset Progress Status Complete
      Data Update Frequency: As needed
      Purpose: This LiDAR operation was designed to create a data sets that will establish an authoritative source for elevation information for the city of Boston.
      Time Period: 2009-11-10  to  2009-11-11
      Spatial Reference System:
      Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
      N: 42.410028
      S: 42.223388
      E: -70.859306
      W: -71.196495
      Spatial Coverage Map:
      • Topography/Bathymetry
      • Elevation
      • Model
      • LiDAR
      • LAZ
      • Remote Sensing
      • US
      • Massachusetts
      • Suffolk County
      • Middlesex County
      • Boston
      • Cambridge
      Use Constraints No constraint information available
      Fees Fee information not available.
      Lineage Statement Lineage statement not available.
      Processing Steps
      • Sanborn Map Company performed: 1. Pre and post-flight sensor calibration tests 2. Data collection 3. Data accuracy validation 4. Final Lidar processing For detailed information regarding Sanborn's lidar processing steps please see the Lidar Report in the Supplemental_Information section above for a detailed accuracy report.
      • The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) received topographic files in .las V1.1 format. The files contained lidar elevation measurments, intensity measurements, classification information, flightline information and return information. The data were received in Massachusetts State Plane Mainland Zone 2001, NAD83 coordinates and were vertically referenced to NAVD88 using the Geoid03 model. The vertical units of the data were feet. CSC performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes: 1. The topographic las files were converted from las V1.1 to las V1.2. 2. The topographic las files' GPS Week Time was converted to Adjusted Standard GPS Time. 3. The topographic las files were converted from orthometric (NAVD88) heights to ellipsoidal heights using Geoid03. 4. The topographic las files were converted from a Projected Coordinate System (MA SP Mainland) to a Geographic Coordinate System (NAD83). 5. The topographic las files' vertical units were converted from feet to meters. 6. The topographic las files' horizontal units were converted from feet to decimal degrees. 7. 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: 2013-10-17

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