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Use of LiDAR in disaster response

The growing use of LiDAR in disaster response and risk assessment has changed the way we react to calamities such as hurricanes or floods. This is so because LiDAR helps generate detailed maps of topography as well as retrieve digital elevation data. This allows emergency responders to easily identify areas most affected by a disaster. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Helps generate detailed information

LiDAR can be used to generate detailed maps that provide digital elevation data necessary for flood modeling and vulnerability, along with risk analysis. It also helps in collecting post-disaster datasets, for example, collecting 3D LiDAR data over an area and using advanced algorithms to estimate the total volume of debris there. This was done in 2017, after hurricane Harvey and demonstrated how LiDAR could be used to quantify the damage after a hurricane.

2. Allows for better preparedness

The increased availability of LiDAR data is changing the way institutions prepare and respond to disasters. LiDAR helps extract high-quality information that can be used to build 3D models. These models can be used to understand terrain mobility or building features which can be extremely useful in pre and post-disaster response. When it comes to wildfires, for example, LiDAR is used as a preparedness measure to help build fire prediction maps and better understand how a fire might move across a terrain. This data can also be helpful for homeowners who are implementing fire mitigation strategies around their homes.

3. Helps prevent human-made minor disasters

LiDAR mapping techniques have helped in the mining area for mapping, monitoring, avoiding damages due to collapse, studying the terrain or excavation, and monitoring the bench stability. Thanks to LiDAR the studies become more accurate and easier to monitor. This plays a tremendous role in mapping, which helps understand and act on the situation rapidly and effectively.

Disasters have the potential to severely damage natural and man-made infrastructure. In the event of a calamity, acquiring highly accurate information through LiDAR becomes crucial to relief work and resilience. It is no surprise that experts around the globe are predicting and, in some cases, even advocating the use of LiDAR for disaster response and management.

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