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Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the earth. 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.
Environment Southland acting general manager, strategy, planning and engagement, Lucy Hicks said the lidar data would greatly improve Environment Southland projects such as hazard planning, policy, compliance, community advice, farm mapping and management plans, as well as understanding landscape change and hydrological processes such as stream flow estimation and catchment size.
“The benefits of lidar over other techniques includes higher resolutions, centimetre accuracies, large coverage areas, high point density and ground detection in densely vegetated terrain,” she said.
Southland District Council business solutions manager Jock Hale said the technology presented the most complete and accurate height and feature data of the island to date.
“The technical standards set by Land Information New Zealand provide country-wide capture and output consistency, enabling opportunities to share and harness more sophisticated spatial analytics on a range of applications that affect ratepayers, like development potential and asset management,’’ he said.
“... This partnership between Southland District Council, Environment Southland and our national stakeholders supports better integrated evidence-based decision-making.”
Southland is one of 10 regions to obtain a baseline elevation data set. Co-funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is supporting expansion of the mapping programme to provide a significant increase in coverage.