LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is an active remote sensing technology used to map the earth's surface.

Laser range observations between a moving vehicle, such as an airplane, and the earth's surface are combined with vehicle location and position information to generate a dense volume of data points called a point cloud. Each point in the point cloud represents a location on the earth's surface with latitude, longitude, and elevation. The point cloud is a 3D representation of terrain and objects, like trees or buildings. LiDAR point cloud data provides accurate 3D information for various mapping products, including:

  • Digital Elevation Models (DEM)
  • Forest inventory analysis and maps
  • Floodplain analysis and maps
  • Infrastructure analysis and maps
  • Transportation analysis and maps  
  • Many other applications

Over the past several years, the Province of British Columbia has made significant investments in LiDAR and has now released provincial LiDAR collections under the Open Government License – British Columbia making it freely available for anyone to download and use. This LiDAR data includes LAZ point cloud data and various LiDAR-derived products.

To learn more about LiDAR, visit the LidarBC website.