NCEI (formerly NGDC)
EMMA logo
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

2007 USGS/NPS/NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL): Naval Live Oaks Area, FL

browse graphicThis kmz file shows the extent of coverage for the 2007 USGS/NPS/NASA Naval Live Oaks, FL lidar data set.
ASCII xyz point cloud data were produced from remotely sensed, geographically referenced elevation measurements cooperatively by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Park Service (NPS), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 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 easily surveyed within a 3- to 4-hour mission. 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.
Other Access Online access information not available.
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 David Nagle
Jacobs Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Science Center, St. Petersburg, FL
727-803-8747 (x3093)
Documentation links not available.
  • publication: 2009-01-01
Data Presentation Form: Digital image
Dataset Progress Status Complete
Data Update Frequency: Not planned
Supplemental Information:
Raw lidar data are not in a format that is generally usable by resource managers and scientists for scientific analysis. 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 Program (CMGP) 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 Airborne 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. The zero crossing of the second derivative (that is, detection of local maxima) is used to detect "first surface" topography, while the trailing edge algorithm (that is, the algorithm searches for the location prior to the last return where direction changes along the trailing edge) is used to detect the range to the last return or "bare earth". Statistical filtering, known as the Random Consensus Filter (RCF), is used to remove false bottom returns and other outliers from the EAARL topography data. The filter uses a grid of non-overlapping square cells (buffer) of user-defined size overlaid onto the original point cloud. The user also defines the vertical tolerance (vertical width) based on the topographic complexity and point sampling density of the data. The maximum allowable elevation range within a cell is established by this vertical tolerance. An iterative process searches for the maximum concentration of points within the vertical tolerance, and removes those points outside of the tolerance (Nayegandhi and others, 2009). These data are then converted to the North American Datum of 1983 and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (using the GEOID03 model). The "canopy height" can then be determined by subtracting the "bare earth" elevations from the "first surface" elevations. Each file contains data located in a 2-kilometer by 2-kilometer tile, where the upper-left bound can be assessed quickly through the filename. The first 3 numbers in the filename represent the left-most UTM easting coordinate (e###000) in meters, the next 4 numbers represent the top-most UTM northing coordinate (n####000) in meters, and the last 2 numbers (##) represent the UTM zone in which the tile is located (ex. be_e123_n4567_16). Once the EAARL topography data has been processed, the ALPS software can then use it with the raw geopositional and orientation data from the survey to georeference color-infrared (CIR) imagery co-acquired alongside the lidar data. Each image is first roughly projected into coordinates using a specialized processing algorithm (in ALPS) that incorporates information from the camera lens parameters, the raw data, and an estimated initial elevation. The georeferencing is then iteratively improved by using the lidar elevation data in the algorithm until the solution stabilizes. This georeferencing method creates a worldfile and projection file for each CIR image. Once the imagery has been assessed visually by an operator for quality issues, the imagery and associated data are then processed using commercial software to mosaic the images into seamless 25-centimeter-resolution images using the 2-kilometer by 2-kilometer tiling scheme described above. 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. The ASPRS LAS grid is encoded with a 1 meter resolution. The input parameters for the Random Consensus Filter (RCF) were: grid cell size (buffer) = 6 meters x 6 meters; vertical tolerance (vertical width) = 500 centimeters for first surface and 50 centimeters for bare earth.
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to produce highly detailed and accurate digital elevation maps and CIR imagery of the Naval Live Oaks Area in Florida's Gulf Islands National Seashore 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.
  • While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOI/USGS > United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • DOI/NPS > National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Time Period: Unknown to Unknown
Spatial Reference System: urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4269
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
N: 30.389941
S: 30.353783
E: -87.104073
W: -87.166508
Spatial Coverage Map:
Theme keywords None
  • Bathymetry/Topography
  • Lidar
  • Airborne Lidar Processing System
  • ALPS
  • Digital Elevation Model
  • DEM
  • Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar
  • laser altimetry
  • remote sensing
  • topography
Place keywords None
  • US
  • Florida
  • Gulf Islandds National Seashore
  • Naval Live Oaks Area
Use Constraints No constraint information available
Fees Fee information not available.
Lineage information for: dataset
  • Jacobs Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Science Center, St. Petersburg, FL
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, 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
  • 2009-07-20T00:00:00 - 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-nanometer) 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, Florida 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 Airborne 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. The processing took place from 20070630 through 20090720.
  • 2001-04-02T00:00:00 - The NOAA Coastal Services Center received the data in LAS format. The files contained Lidar elevation and intensity measurements. The data were projected in UTM coordinates (NAD83; Zone 16N) and referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) using the Geoid03 model. The following processes were performed to make the data available within the Digital Coast: 1. The data were converted from UTM (NAD83; Zone 16N) to geographic coordinates (NAD83). 2. The data were converted from NAVD88 (orthometric) heights to GRS80 (ellipsoidal) heights using the Geoid03 model. 3. The data were reclassified to reflect a bare earth surface (class 0 to class 2). 4. The LAS data were sorted by latitude and the headers were updated.
  • 2011-04-26T00:00:00 - 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: 2013-06-07
For questions about the information on this page, please email: