LIST LIDAR SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY

LAUNCH: 2016–2020

MISSION SIZE: Medium

ORBIT: LEO, SSO

AGENCY: NASA

ESTIMATED COST: $300 million

AREAS OF INTEREST: Health, Solid Earth

INSTRUMENTS: Laser altimeter

BENEFITS:

Quantified assessment of wildfire risk

Monitoring of changes due to land use and land management

Predictions of the likelihood of volcanic eruptions and landslides

Until recently, the coarse resolution of topographic mapping has been a major impediment to understanding the forces and processes that shape Earth’s surface. Although airborne lidar is useful for surveying small areas, a space-based sensor is essential for worldwide mapping. Global topographic data are now available at 30- to 90-meter horizontal resolution, with a vertical precision of about 10 meters. Much better data are needed in order to predict the location and timing of landslides, floods, tsunami run-ups, and lava and mud flows.

Using laser altimetry, LIST will carry out the most precise global topographic survey to date, with a resolution of 5 meters and a precision in the tenths of meters. This will permit mapping of landslide, earthquake, and flood hazards at a small enough scale to be useful for site-specific land use decisions as well as research. Observations from LIST will help scientists find active faults, map the global loss of topsoil, and detect signs of potential volcanic activity. Global measurements of vegetation height will advance studies of forest and land-cover dynamics and allow quantitative assessment of wildfire risk.



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earth Science and applicatiOnS frOm Space 0 LIST LIDAR SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY LAUNCH: 2016–2020 MISSION SIZE: medium ORBIT: Leo, sso AGENCY: nasa ESTIMATED COST: $300 million AREAS OF INTEREST: health, solid earth INSTRUMENTS: Laser altimeter BENEFITS: Quantified assessment of wildfire risk monitoring of changes due to land use and land management Predictions of the likelihood of volcanic eruptions and landslides Until recently, the coarse resolution of topographic mapping has been a major impediment to understanding the forces and processes that shape earth’s surface. although airborne lidar is useful for surveying small areas, a space-based sensor is es- sential for worldwide mapping. Global topographic data are now available at 30- to 90-meter hori- zontal resolution, with a vertical pre- cision of about 10 meters. much better data are needed in order to predict the location and timing of landslides, floods, tsunami run-ups, and lava and mud flows. Using laser altimetry, List will carry out the most precise global topo- graphic survey to date, with a resolution of 5 meters and a preci- sion in the tenths of meters. this will permit mapping of land- slide, earthquake, and flood hazards at a small enough scale to be useful for site-specific land use decisions as well as research. observations from List will help scientists find active faults, map the global loss of topsoil, and detect signs of potential volcanic activity. Global measurements of vegetation height will advance studies of forest and land-cover dynamics and allow quantitative assessment of wildfire risk.