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Airborne LIDAR: principles, processing and applications to volcanic areas

Dr Massimiliano Favalli, INGV, Piza

Tuesday 19 January 2010, 1000-1100
LEC LG505

The talk will discuss airborne laser scanning for obtaining detailed topographic and other data, with particular emphasis on volcanic areas.

Airborne Light Intensity Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is an active remote sensing system consisting of a laser scanner, a Global Positioning System (GPS) and an Inertial Navigation System (INS). A laser transmits brief laser pulses to the ground which are scattered back to the scanner. From the laser pulses direction, the pulses travel time and the position of the aircraft it is possible to reconstruct accurate coordinates of the points of the terrain surface. The peak power of backscattered pulses is also recorded by the system and can be used to produce maps of intensity. DEMs derived from LIDAR data are nowadays largely used for quantitative analyses and modelling in geology and geomorphology. Raw three-dimensional data points are however largely affected by systematic errors. A rigorous removal of these errors usually produces a great improvement in the quality of LIDAR-derived DEMs. Some examples of LIDAR applications to volcanic areas are presented: lava flow mapping using intensity maps; accurate volumes calculation of lava flows; calculation of the volumes of erosion and deposition of recently formed pyroclastic cones; mapping of changes of superficial properties (e.g. roughness).