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Lidar Data
OWEB Funding and the Oregon Lidar Consortium (OLC)
In the 2007-2009 and the 2009-2011 biennia the Oregon legilature allocated a total of $2 million Lottery dollars to the Oregon Deparment of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) to begin acquiring lidar data.  Based on a Portland pilot effort in which a consortium model was used to pool funding, DOGAMI formed the Oregon Lidar Consortium (OLC).  Within the OLC, other state agencies, local governments, non-profits, and non-governmental agencies have all contributed to the acquisition of lidar in their areas of interest.  Acquiring lidar through the OLC can provide a reduced rate for acquisition if the area of interest exceeds 250 square miles, in addition to contract management and data quality control by DOGAMI.  The lidar contractor for the OLC is Watershed Sciences based in Corvallis, OR.  The basic OLC strategy for developing data acquisition areas is to start with a local funding partner and work to enlarge that area by finding additional partners and adding OLC funds to link areas together into large contiguous blocks.

What is Lidar?
Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a method of detecting distant objects and determining their position, velocity, or other characteristics by analysis of pulsed laser light reflected from their surfaces.  It is a new tool that can provide very precise, accurate, and high-resolution images of the surface of the earth, vegetation, and the built environment. 

Applications of Lidar

Lidar applications identified by DOGAMI                               
Watershed council lidar applications courtesy of the Calapooia Watershed Council
  • Find landslides, old cuts and grades
  • Measure and estimate fills and cuts
  • Find stream channels, measure gradients
  • Measure the size and height of buildings, bridges
  • Locate and measure every tree in the forest
  • Characterize land cover
  • Model floods, fire behavior
  • Locate power lines and power poles
  • Support archeological investigations
  • Map wetlands and impervious surfaces
  • Define watersheds and viewsheds
  • Model insolation and shading
  • Map road center and sidelines
  • Find law enforcement targets
  • Map landforms and soils
  • Assess property remotely
  • Inventory carbon
  • Monitor quarries, find abandoned mines
  • Enhance any project that requires a detailed and accurate 2-D or 3-D map
  • Maps and detailed drainage visuals for landowner site visit discussions
  • Large wood and habitat ID (eastside) and enhancement planning by delineating backwater and side channel opportunities
  • Floodplain modeling, coupled with stream cross sectional data and discharge
  • Contour, topo, aspect and hillshade perspectives for stakeholder analysis

Examples - Calapooia Watershed Council
Tara Davis, Executive Director of the Calapooia Watershed Council uses lidar regularly in applications noted above.  At the 2011 Councils and Districts Gathering she participated in a GIS workshop and demonstrated how to create a hillshade using bare-earth rasters and ArcGIS.  Tara has graciously shared her presentation which includes step-by-step instructions, Calapooia 2011 Presentation (PDF, 2.2mb).
Example Map
Calapooia Watershed Council, river depth analysis provided by River Design Group.
Example Map
Calapooia Watershed Council, site visit map.
Examples - OWEB
Several OWEB grantees have accessed lidar data for use on OWEB funded projects.  In addition, OWEB has funded lidar acquisition and analysis with Technical Assistance grants.
Some examples of grantees using lidar data include:
Research grant - Fiberoptic Observation of Stream Function and Condition:  Demonstration and Application.  Both OSU researchers and Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council staff collaborated to use lidar to accurately tie the elevation data (gradient and elevational positions) provided by the lidar bare-earth grid to cold water seeps to correlate the geomorphology of the reach with the temperature information provided by the fiberoptic cable.
Deschutes Special Investment Partnership/Upper Deschutes Watershed Council - Camp Polk and Three Sisters Irrigation District.  Lidar data has been instrumental in being able to complete these restoration projects, it was used in engineering modeling, design, project monitoring and more.
To read more about these OWEB funded grants, access the OWEB Grant Management System.

Examples - Klamath Tribes
The following two examples were provided by Michael L. Hughes, current Assistant Professor
at Oregon Institute of Technology while previously working with the Klamath Tribes.
The following reference uses lidar data to explore the connection of riverine and "fluvial palustrine" wetlands (these are basically oxbow and other channel-like floodplain wetlands selected out of the National Wetland Inventory dataset), and then uses this information to support a potential method to delineate a riparian management zone.
Hughes M.L. 2010. LIDAR-aided hydrogeomorphic assessment of channel-floodplain wetlands along the Sprague River, with application to riparian resource management (PDF, 6mb). Invited presentation at the inaugural meeting of the EPA Region 10 Tribal Wetlands Workgroup, Pendleton, OR (November 3, 2010).
This example below uses LIDAR data to explore variation of the Wood River meander belt, and then uses this variation to partially explain meander dynamics:
Hughes M.L. and Nash C. 2011. Using LIDAR with aerial photos to understand meander changes along the Wood River, Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon (PDF, 2mb).  Paper presented at the 106th Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Seattle, WA (April 12-16, 2011).

Lidar Resources and Links
Please contact Ashley Seim at OWEB to check on the availability of free lidar data, (503) 986-0186 or ashley.seim@state.or.us.  OWEB has, at the minimum, the derived grid products (highest-hit, intensity and bare-earth images) for the following areas, Camp Creek, Deschutes, John Day, Klamath, Malheur, North Coast, Ontario, Rogue Valley, South Coast and the Willamette Valley.  Current data transfer methods require providing an external hard drive to OWEB for copying data to.  As new transfer/data access methods are made available or new data is added to the OWEB collection, this webpage will be updated.
Public Domain Lidar in Oregon (PDF, 5mb), a statewide map of lidar acquisitions and the source.

OLC/DOGAMI OLC websiteDOGAMI Lidar Data Viewer 
U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) Center for LIDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge (CLICK) 
U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) USGS National Elevation Dataset (NED) 
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration LIDAR Data Retrieval Tool (LDART) 
Puget Sound Lidar Consortium http://pugetsoundlidar.ess.washington.edu/index.html
USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) 
Spatial Data Library Alphalist http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/EISPD/GEO/alphalist.shtml#L