Task 127

Validation and Calibration of Airborne Lidar Data Collected Using NASA’s Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor in Support of the DESDynI Lidar Mission

Principal Investigator(s):

M. Hofton


S. B. Luthcke

Last Updated:

October 26, 2012 15:25:29

Description of Problem

This project coordinates high-altitude airborne lidar data experiments in the Antarctic and Greenland to collect elevation and surface structure information in support of NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge. After processing and quality checking, data precision and accuracy are assessed using crossover analyses and comparison with available in situ data. Data are released publically. The study results in the collection, analysis and validation of the precision and accuracy of elevation and topographic structure products derived from the 25m-footprint, waveform LVIS lidar over ice targets.

Scientific Objectives and Approach

Our specific objectives are:

After liaison with Ice Bridge science team members, generate detailed flight plans and mission specific information that is used in the collection of medium-altitude, 25m wide footprint airborne lidar data during flights performed as part of NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge. Data are collected using NASA’s Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS).

Process and validate precision of waveform lidar elevation, structure and height metrics and release data to investigators.

Data mining of existing LVIS data for science team and other studies.

We are collecting, processing and distributing lidar data over sites in Greenland and Antarctica that have a variety of surface conditions (surface slope, dh/dt, flow) and where other data sets are available for comparison. Detailed analysis of data product precision and accuracy are possible as well as simulation of the measurements that future spaceborne lidars might make.


LVIS data were collected at various sites in Greenland and Antarctica. The flight missions were undertaken in March-April, 2011 and October-November 2011. Data are processed and released via the LVIS and NSIDC web sites. Streamlining of the data processing flow as well as new data product development has taken place to improve data processing and release schedules.

Other Publications and Conferences

Conference presentations:
J. Blair and M Hofton, LVIS Precision and Accuracy, Ice Bridge Planning Meeting, UC Irvine, CA, June 14-16, 2011.

M. Hofton, M Beckley, LVIS Flight Plans for Antarctica 2011, Ice Bridge Planning Meeting, UC Irvine, CA, June 14-16, 2011.

M Hofton, S. Luthcke, B Blair, Surface Topographic Changes in Southern Greenland, 2003-2011, Measured Using Space and Airborne Lidar Remote Sensing, Abstract C41E-0480, 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 5-9 Dec.