These remotely sensed, geographically referenced elevation measurements of Lidar-derived first surface (FS) topography were produced collaboratively by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC), St. Petersburg, FL, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Wallops Flight Facility, VA.
This project provides highly detailed and accurate datasets of the Alabama coastline, acquired October 3-4, 2001. The datasets are made available for use as a management tool to research scientists and natural resource managers. An innovative scanning Lidar instrument originally developed by NASA, and known as the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM), was used during data acquisition. The ATM system is a scanning Lidar system that measures high-resolution topography of the land surface, and incorporates a green-wavelength laser operating at pulse rates of 2 to 10 kilohertz. Measurements from the laser ranging device are coupled with data acquired from inertial navigation system (INS) attitude sensors and differentially corrected global positioning system (GPS) receivers to measure topography of the surface at accuracies of +/-15 centimeters. The nominal ATM platform is a Twin Otter or P-3 Orion aircraft, but the instrument may be deployed on a range of light aircraft.
Elevation measurements were collected over the survey area using the ATM system, and the resulting data were then processed using the Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS), a custom-built processing system developed in a NASA-USGS collaboration. ALPS supports the exploration and processing of Lidar data in an interactive or batch mode. Modules for pre-survey flight line definition, flight path plotting, Lidar raster and waveform investigation, and digital camera image playback have been developed. Processing algorithms have been developed to extract the range to the first and last significant return within each waveform. ALPS is routinely used to create maps that represent submerged or first surface topography.