LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology and processing is used in a wide range of research and practical applications. With its ability to measure dimensions, distances, textures, and many other aspects of targeted subjects, LIDAR processing has become an increasingly important tool in geology, geography, surveying, agriculture, and forestry. Atmospheric sciences, archaeology, seismology, and geomatics also depend on data gathered using LIDAR processing for research, while physics and astronomy benefit from LIDAR's ability to create highly precise maps.
With its early adoption by atmospheric scientists, LIDAR processing marked one of the first uses of laser technology. LIDAR technology continues to be a critically important tool in studying the composition of the atmosphere and clouds. With increasing concern over greenhouse gases and other aerosol substances in the atmosphere, LIDAR processing enables scientists to precisely determine how much carbon dioxide, ozone, and other substances are present in the atmosphere.
In the earth sciences, LIDAR processing allows the detection of obscured topographic details, such as land elevations below dense vegetation. Repeated LIDAR surveys of specific locations have led to a greater understanding of the geological and chemical forces that result in changes on the Earth's surface. High-resolution maps generated via stationery and airborne LIDAR systems offer hydrologists new insights into subterranean water movement.