LiDAR is a remote-sensing technology that uses laser pulses to measure surfaces and objects in three dimensions. Millions of data points are collected from a sensor that can be mounted in a variety of aircraft and ground-based mobile platforms.

LiDAR has become the predominant method for county-wide topographic mapping in Wisconsin. The technology has changed the way elevation data is acquired and processed, and has made topographic data more accurate – and affordable – than ever before.

In 2011, a large block of counties in Wisconsin completed LiDAR projects under the WROC program. Partner funding came from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) in response to 2008 flooding that occurred throughout the region. The LiDAR data was collected and processed by the Ayres Associates/Quantum team, and the resulting topographic data has been accepted by FEMA for floodplain mapping.

From 2014 to 2016, 20 counties throughout Wisconsin acquired LiDAR based on the success of prior projects and the benefits of high accuracy elevation data for local governments and the public. All but six counties in Wisconsin now have acquired lidar. Many counties are now planning for update lidar projects from 2017-2020. If you are interested in discussing more about the benefits of LiDAR or what to budget for in an upcoming project, please contact a WROC representative.

For more information on LiDAR technology and its applications, click here.

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