Alaska Tribes Employ LiDAR for Insights into Managing Natural Resources

Jim DePasquale, of the Nature Conservancy, shares his experiences of using LiDAR mapping technology in Alaska through the use of USGS’ 3D Elevation Program in Directions Magazine.  Excerpt below, read the full article HERE.

After winning a 3DEP award in 2017, The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and regional Alaska Native Corporation Sealaska, with support from Alaska’s DNR and local tribes, began the first phase of their LiDAR survey. Geospatial data firm Quantum Spatial Inc. conducted aerial acquisitions from May through September, using LiDAR to survey approximately 2,166 square miles across Prince of Wales Island and surrounding areas at the QL1 data quality level.

Among the output from this initial survey were raw point cloud data; classified point cloud data; a hydro-flattened, bare earth DEM; hydro and bridge break lines; intensity imagery; automated contours; automated building footprints; a digital surface model; automated vegetation classifications; and shaded relief rasters.

Learning about the work being done by this group, both the Metlakatla Indian Community and Organized Village of Kake reached out to see how they could participate and benefit from the geospatial data being collected. These tribal organizations are now part of Phase 2 of the Prince of Wales 3DEP project, which was awarded funding in early 2018. Phase 2 surveys took place this summer covering another 1,101 square miles.

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