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


K. J. Ranson

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 and DESDynI lidar missions. 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 and are used in pre-mission studies by the DESDynI Lidar Science Definition Team and others. 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 and vegetation targets.

Scientific Objectives and Approach

Our specific objectives are:

• After liaison with Ice Bridge and DESDynI 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 DESDynI science definition team 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. Detailed analysis of data product precision and accuracy are possible as well as simulation of the measurements that DESDynI might make.


LVIS data were collected at various sites in Greenland and Antarctica. The flight missions were undertaken in March-April and October-November 2010. Data are being processed and are being 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. Planning is underway for the Greenland 2011 campaign including development of software to support flight selection.

Other Publications and Conferences

J. Blair, M. Hofton, D. Rabine. S. Luthcke, C. McIntosh, LVIS: Pole to Pole, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center SED Directors Seminar, Jan. 2010.

J. Blair, M. Hofton, LVIS Ice Bridge Greenland and Antarctica 2009 Data Results and Status, Ice Bridge Planning Meeting, Seattle, WA, June 18-19, 2010.

M Hofton, B Blair, S. Luthcke, D Rabine, C. McIntosh, M Beckley, Characterizing Ice Sheet Surface Topography and Structure Using High-Altitude Waveform Airborne Laser Altimetry, Abstract C11A-0523, 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

M. Hofton, S. Luthcke, B Blair, D. Rabine, LVIS Mapping of the Cryosphere, PARCA meeting, NASA GSFC, Jan 18-20, 2011.