2011 – 2013 Statewide LiDAR Project

 What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. By bouncing light waves off objects and structures, we can get a digital 3-D image of the ground and what’s on it. LiDAR can distinguish between earth, water, buildings, roads, trees, crops and countless other types of surfaces. This data is a fundamental building block of geographic information systems.

What is LiDAR Used For?

LiDAR has many benefits, including improved:

  • Flood risk assessment, disaster mitigation, insurance rate calculations and emergency response
  • Property valuation, infrastructure planning, urban/regional and industrial planning and development
  • Decision-making for natural resource management and environmental monitoring
  • Geologic mapping of faults, landslide and dam hazards, sinkholes, coal and renewable wind and solar power energy resources
  • Water supply and management applications
  • Farming operations and support of sustainable food production and soil conservation

Where Can I Get The Data?

The statewide LiDAR point cloud dataset includes more than four terabytes of elevation data, consisting of billions of individual X,Y,Z data points precisely mapping the surface of Indiana. This elevation dataset is an extremely powerful tool that can support many projects across Indiana, but it can also be daunting to work with, especially when you only need a small area for your project and it needs to be in a usable format.

The solution is OpenTopography, a managed hosting service offered by the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. It allows anyone to easily access point cloud data online with no cost to the end-user. Anyone can go online, identify an area of interest on the map, and select the output product and format. The LiDAR Server then automatically clips, processes, zips and ships the dataset to the user.


IGIC Corporate or Institutional Members who would like copies of all or part of the 2011 – 2013 data can also email Phil Worrall at pworrall@igic.org for information on checking out a set of hard drives to copy.

LiDAR Sponsors and Supporters

Thanks to the generous support of our OpenTopography sponsors and supporters, the Indiana LiDAR and DEM data is available free of charge to the public on the OpenTopography Server!


LiDAR Training

ISPLS 2013 Workshop

Agenda: IGIC – Indiana GIS LiDAR Applications for Surveyors
Part 1. Workshop Introduction
Part 2. Intro to LiDAR and OpenTopography
Part 3. Independent Vertical Accuracy Assessment of LiDAR Data
Part 4. LiDAR Software Resources
Part 5.a. Deriving Contours From LiDAR
Part 5.b. Automated Zone A Floodplain Mapping

LiDAR Reference Documents

NGP LiDAR Base Specifications Ver1.0 (TM11-B4), USGS 2012
NDEP Elevation Guidelines Ver1.0, NDEP 2004
Geospatial Positioning Accuracy Standards, Part 3: National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy, FGDC-STD-007.3-1998
IGIC – NSSDA Horizontal and Vertical Accurary Assessment Spreadsheet Template
About the OpenTopography LiDAR Server, University of California San Diego 2011
Creation of Digital Contours That Approach the Characteristics of Cartographic Contours, Scientific Investigations Report 2012�5167, USGS 2012