In this blog series on publicly available data we have thus far looked closely at the value (and limitation) of satellite data. There currently exists more than 2,200 satellites orbiting the earth, many providing a steady stream of scientific data.
One might argue that the primary benefit of satellite data, at least in the case of oil and has exploration, is its ability to reach parts of the Earth, cost-effectively, that are otherwise too difficult to access or photograph, providing datasets of value to industry geoscientists.
High value can also come from remote sensing, which is the use of aerial photography [often satellites], combined with other methods to view that which cannot be seen by the unaided eye.
In this post we look more closely at airborne LiDAR remote sensing data available in the public domain. Just like satellite data, there are limitations to this data as well as great value. In any case, our geoscientists are nonetheless able to generate many of the same interpretive products you need to explore using this, and other publicly available data, including:
- Assessments of basin-scale geologic trends
- Maps of basin architecture and regional structure
- Maps of key lineaments, regional fault systems, and intrusions
- 2-D and 3-D structural and stratigraphic models
- Maps of basement topography, faulting and composition
- Assessments of relative acreage prospectivity derived using predictive analytics.
Read on to understand how remote sensing data plays a roll in multi-measurement interpretation.
What is it/How is it used: LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a publicly available airborne remote sensing technology that collects 3-D point clouds of the Earth’s surface and is used for high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs). The system works by illuminating a target with a laser scanner, the reflected light produces values that are then integrated with other on-board systems and recorded.
Value: The airborne data from LiDAR is at a high resolution and can detect subtle topographic features such as fault interpretations, lineament interpretations, or surface changes over time.
Limitations: LiDAR data availability and cost vary from state to state in the USA. Some states offer LiDAR data free. Therefore, despite a high resolution product, availability is extremely limited.