Lidar Coastal Mapping Project Announced

Posted on February 27th, in Offshore Energy.

February 28, 2017

(Halifax, NS)  The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) announced a pilot research project today. The project’s goal is to better understand the coastline inlet areas of Nova Scotia, which provide biologically diverse habitat and support an abundance of marine life.  By better understanding these areas, the research will help aid in their protection. The project is being undertaken by NSCC’s Applied Geomatics Research Group with funding from the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Shell Canada, and BP.

The pilot project is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia, using state-of-the-art airborne topo-bathymetric lidar technology to generate detailed maps of the shallow near-shore zone, where the use of traditional mapping methods is limited. In the same way that topographic maps represent the three-dimensional features of terrain on land, bathymetric maps illustrate the land that lies underwater.

Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, uses light in the form of a pulsed laser from an aerial source to measure ranges to the Earth.

The lidar sensors and cameras are used to generate more precise, three-dimensional information about the subsea topography, bathymetry and sensitive habitats. One of the objectives of the pilot was to test the technology in a small area to help determine its potential applications in a broad range of coastal areas and applications. The information can then be used to aid emergency response in a number of potential scenarios from natural weather events such as floods or storm surges, to offshore emergency responses associated with spills or collisions. 

Future phases of the project, based on results from this work, may further refine model result through the use of dye tests or additional detailed current measurements and model a number of different prevailing wave, current and wind scenarios.