LiDAR-Based Survey of Forest Areas


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    Recently, the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change released the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of LiDAR-based surveys of forest areas in ten forest-rich states.

    • These reports will be used to augment groundwater in forest areas so that animals don’t venture out in search of water.


    • The project  was awarded to WAPCOS, a PSU under the aegis of Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India is a first of its kind and a unique experiment using LiDAR technology.
    • WAPCOS has prepared these DPR’s using LiDAR technology in which the 3-D(three dimensional) DEM (Digital Elevation Model), imagery and layers of the project areas are used for recommending different types of Soil & Water conservation structures such as Anicut, Gabion, Gully Plug, Mini percolation tank, Percolation Tank, Field bund, Sunken pond, Farm pond etc. 
      • These structures will help in catching the rainwater and prevent stream runoff, which will help in recharging Groundwater.


    • It will help augment water and fodder in jungles areas thereby reducing human-animal conflict
    • The soil and water conservation structures will help in catching rainwater and prevent stream run-off, which will help in recharging groundwater
      • It will help in groundwater recharge, and help local communities .
    • It can enhance water resources within the forests to meet the needs of flora and fauna, as well as fodder augmentation. 

    LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Technology

    • LIDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. 
    • The light pulses along with other data generate accurate, high-resolution three-dimensional information of the object.
      • These light pulses, combined with other data recorded by the airborne system, generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
    • A lidar instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver. 
      • Aeroplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring lidar data over broad areas. 
    • Types: Two types of lidar are topographic and bathymetric. 
    • Topographic lidar typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric lidar uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.




    • This technology is used to map the land and is used to measure seafloor and riverbed elevations etc. 
    • Aeroplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring lidar data over broad areas.
    • It allows scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility.
    • Scientists are using lidar to produce more accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, assist in emergency response operations, and many other applications.
    • The government is using LiDAR technology to provide fodder and water augmentation in forest areas so that animals will get food and water in forest areas and will not come outside.



    • LiDAR can’t perform well in fog, rain, snow and dusty weather.
    • Struggles to detect a glass wall or door, which is why smartphone manufacturers and self-driving cars makers use LiDAR along with secondary cameras and sensors.

    Source: PIB