Lidar Analysis in ArcGIS 10 for Forestry Applications

Foresters use light detection and ranging (lidar) data to understand the forest canopy and terrain, which helps them forest management and operational activities. Combining lidar data with Esri ArcGIS helps analysts assess forest health, calculate forest biomass, classify terrain, identify drainage patterns, and plan forest management activities such as fertilization, harvesting programs, development activities, and much more.

This paper will step through ways to convert lidar data right into a format ArcGIS can process, explain techniques to interpret the lidar data, and show how ArcGIS can disseminate your data to people who are not geospatial analysts. It's going to present methods for reading raw classified lidar data and demonstrate strategies to
  • Analyzing and validating lidar data with ArcGIS before any extensive processing occurs
  • Storing and managing millions or huge amounts of lidar points inside the geodatabase in the seamless dataset, no matter the quantity of original lidar files
  • Processing to extract digital elevation models (DEMs) and digital surface models (DSMs) in the lidar data and store them as terrains in the geodatabase or as raster elevation files
  • Extracting vegetation density estimates and tree height estimates from lidar, which aid in growth analysis, fertilization regimes, and logging operations
  • Serving and analyzing huge amounts of lidar data being a seamless dataset to geographic information system (GIS) clients
In all of the areas, ArcGIS is really a complete system for managing, storing, and analyzing lidar data. Coupling ArcGIS Desktop with ArcGIS Server, the forestry professional will be able to access large amounts of lidar data quickly and efficiently without having to produce additional resultant datasets.

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