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NASA Earth Shark Science

LIDAR Map Shows Height of Earth's Forests 47

Hkibtimes writes about a recently released map of the Earth's forests. From the article: "A group of scientists from NASA and the University of Maryland have created a unique map that shows the heights of the Earth's forests. The map ... has been created using 2.5 million carefully screened and globally distributed laser pulse measurements sent from space."
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LIDAR Map Shows Height of Earth's Forests

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  • Re:Google Earth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2012 @08:50PM (#39105635)

    You need 1m posting or better lidar data to get the individual trees and buildings. For the State of North Carolina, which was one of the first states with complete lidar coverage ( for floodplain mapping purposes), 1/3 of the state was flown at -12m posting distance and 2/3 was flown at 5m posting distance , Even at this relatively coarse resolution, there are about 26 billion x,y,z points for the State data set. You can process this as a single file using GRASS GIS or LAStools in a couple of days on a 2Ghz cpu ( single threaded). Consider that 1 m posting gives you 25 times the data points as 5 m posting and pretty soon you are talking about interesting data set sizes.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:13PM (#39105797) Homepage Journal
    I'm from the Ozarks, and was shocked to learn as an adult that virtually the whole area of Arkansas-Missouri-Tennessee etc. was clear cut 100 years ago, and that there is more growth now than my grandparents had around them. But in Africa, saw the opposite, the clearing of forests at a frightening pace. If this can show us year-to-year how the forests are shrinking or growing, we may find out that the loss of carbon consumers is as important as the growth of carbon emitters.
  • by youngone ( 975102 ) on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:31PM (#39105909)
    Yeah, I noticed that too. They've also lumped us in with Australia in the article as having very tall eucalyptus forests, whcih we don't really have. (Apart from the odd commercial forest). Maybe they mean Southern Beech: [] They seem to grow to 35 metres.

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