Lidar (/ˈldɑːr/, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining ranges (variable distance) by targeting an object with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. Lidar can also be used to make digital 3-D representations of areas on the earth's surface and ocean bottom, due to differences in laser return times, and by varying laser wavelengths. It has terrestrial, airborne, and mobile applications.[1][2]

Lidar-derived image of Marching Bears Mound Group, Effigy Mounds National Monument.
A FASOR used at the Starfire Optical Range for lidar and laser guide star experiments is tuned to the sodium D2a line and used to excite sodium atoms in the upper atmosphere.
This lidar may be used to scan buildings, rock formations, etc., to produce a 3-D model. The lidar can aim its laser beam in a wide range: its head rotates horizontally; a mirror tilts vertically. The laser beam is used to measure the distance to the first object on its path.
An airplane collecting treetop data over a Brazilian rainforest.
In this view, the viewer flies down to the rainforest canopy and flies through the virtual leaves.
This visualization shows an airplane collecting a 50-kilometer swath of lidar data over the Brazilian rainforest. For ground-level features, colors range from deep brown to tan. Vegetation heights are depicted in shades of green, where dark greens are closest to the ground and light greens are the highest.

Lidar is an acronym of "light detection and ranging"[3] or "laser imaging, detection, and ranging".[4] Lidar sometimes is called 3-D laser scanning, a special combination of 3-D scanning and laser scanning.[5]

Lidar is commonly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in surveying, geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics,[6] laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry. The technology is also used in control and navigation for some autonomous cars[7] and for the helicopter Ingenuity on its record-setting flights over the terrain of Mars.[8]

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Lidar, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.