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Oregon lidar map shows new way to see familiar places


From mountain peaks to city skylines, Oregon’s dramatic landscapes are revealed with the state’s new interactive lidar map.

Lidar technology offers precise, high-resolution images of the surface of the earth, vegetation and the built environment. The Lidar Data Viewer interactive map features layers for bare earth, which shows everything above the surface of the earth stripped away; highest hit, which shows a birds-eye view of trees and buildings; and bare earth slope, which shows steepness of slopes.

“With the lidar viewer, you can explore Oregon in an entirely new way,” says Jacob Edwards, who coordinates the Oregon Lidar Consortium for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). “Whether it’s the bare surface of Mount Hood or an overhead look at the buildings of downtown Bend, you’ll see landmarks much differently.”

Lidar has not only revolutionized geologic and natural hazard mapping, says State Geologist Brad Avy, but has become an essential tool for communities.

“By making lidar easy and free to download with the new viewer, the data is more widely accessible for many practical uses, from prioritizing road repairs to identifying dangers like mine shafts when fighting fires,” Avy says.

The viewer also expands the lidar data available for download. Since the Oregon Lidar Consortium (OLC) was formed in 2007, DOGAMI has partnered on collection of lidar data with more than 80 state and federal agencies, Tribes, city and county governments, watershed councils, non-profit organizations, and businesses. The viewer includes lidar data from 18 recent OLC projects covering 15,087 square miles of Oregon, including areas in 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties.

“Ninety-five percent of the newly released lidar coverage is for areas where there was no previous lidar data,” Edwards says. “As more uses for lidar emerge, we’re working with partners to identify areas where having lidar data could meet a critical need.”

The viewer’s launch is happening during Earth Science Week, proclaimed as October 8-14 by Governor Kate Brown. The week’s theme of “Earth and Human Activity” promotes awareness of what geoscience tells us about human interaction with the planet’s natural systems and processes.

Find the Lidar Data Viewer interactive map at:

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