This Geoinformatics award to Arizona State University (PI: Arrowsmith) supports a three year development project that is collaborative with the University of California, San Diego (PI: Baru). The project plan will improve upon and refine the capabilities of the OpenTopography Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data services web portal that was previously jointly supported by NSF/EAR, NSF/OCI and NSF/CISE (EAR-0930731/EAR-0930643).

OpenTopography (OT) was designed to allow users web-based access Lidar generated high resolution topographic data sets and analysis tools in support of surface Earth process research, research training and education. This award will develop OT2, an extensible interface and platform that will allow scientists to develop and plug in functional modules, and a scalable system that will allow archive growth and computer services provided by cloud computing modalities. OT2 will expand capabilities to handle full waveform LiDAR, TLS data and bathymetric data. OT2 will continue to ingest extant airborne LiDAR and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data sets from numerous sources beyond airborne LiDAR and TLS data sets produced by continued and expanding use of the National Center for Airborne Laser Swath Mapping Facility (NCALM) and the UNVACO hosted TLS instrument pool. Hosted data now at OT includes also airborne LiDAR data sets flown for EarthScope science projects, Critical Zone Observatories, NOAA, US Bureau of Reclamation, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service and numerous state airborne LiDAR data sets.

Currently, OT hosts some 200 billion LiDAR returns and thousands of pre-computed digital elevation models (DEMs) and Google Earth readable kmz files. OT management has documented high volume use of the web portal. There are over 1,500 registered users, the site gets between 5,000 and 25,000 page view per month and more than 12,000 automated job runs have accessed over 250 billion LiDAR returns. OT PIs also report that more than 35,000 pre-computed DEM tiles have been downloaded and over 70 Gb of Google Earth imagery is streamed per month. The user base is approximately 22% students, 27% academic researchers, 24% government scientists and 15% commercial sector.


National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
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Russell C. Kelz
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Arizona State University
United States
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