By Jaime Martindale.
In recent years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made improving access to LiDAR and aerial imagery a priority in the B1G Geoportal. Building on the popularity of the historic 1937-1941 aerial photos of Wisconsin, (one of the most popular resources in the B1G Geoportal for several years running) our current focus has been on enhancing discovery to more current aerial imagery and LiDAR elevation data currently housed within the WisconsinView repository.WisconsinView.org (part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center) serves as the repository for remotely sensed data in Wisconsin -- from LiDAR and satellite imagery, to digital orthophotography, tornado and flood data. In partnership with WisconsinView, the UW Robinson Map Library and WI State Cartographer’s Office are working to write metadata and facilitate access to these collections via the B1G Geoportal. This work results in greater exposure to the data and imagery, and combines access to additional data and resources in the geoportal that may be useful in conjunction.
LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. Example derivative datasets from LiDAR include Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Digital Surface Models (DSM), derived terrain, contours, and classified point cloud data that can be interpreted in many ways. At present, there are nearly 700 LiDAR datasets for Wisconsin in the B1G Geoportal.
Future work will include adding additional historic aerial imagery collections from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, 2020 WI Regional Planning Commission aerial imagery, along with new high-resolution LiDAR data being acquired by Wisconsin counties each year. Look for Wisconsin imagery and elevation collections in the G1G Geoportal to grow at faster rates in the coming years as new data is made available.