NEON Airborne Data Now Includes Full Waveform LiDAR

by | Mar 3, 2015


NEON's full-waveform LiDAR technology allows researchers to measure object heights and get a clear understanding of plant density and species type.

The National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) recently released new sample data from its Airborne Observation Platform (AOP). The full-waveform light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data are collected using light energy to measure object heights on the ground; assess plant density and species; and map buildings, power lines and other infrastructure.

The NEON AOP data are collected over field site with multiple sensors on a Twin Otter plane. The sensors include a hyperspectral imaging spectrometer; a LiDAR system; and a high-resolution red, green and blue camera. Key measurements are derived from these instruments, yielding data products such as a vegetation leaf area index, total biomass, vegetation indices, ecosystem structure, canopy biogeochemistry, land cover, ground elevation and a digital surface model.

NEON is currently in its construction phase and will eventually include a network of 106 field sites as well as the information infrastructure needed to gather data and metadata from sensors and field sampling, ensure data quality, process the information into data products and deliver the products to users via an online portal. The full-waveform LiDAR data can be downloaded online via the NEON Data and Resources page.


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