Supporting Hurricane Irma and Maria Disaster Recovery: Topographic and Topo-Bathymetric LiDAR mapping in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
In 2016, USGS awarded a task order to Dewberry to produce high resolution lidar data for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Whereas previous surveys were concentrated on the coast, this survey provides the first complete coverage of Puerto Rico?s mainland and outlying islands. In addition, NOAA?s National Geodetic Survey tasked us with processing approximately 500 square miles of topobathymetric lidar data that NGS? Remote Sensing Branch acquired in 2014 and 2016. Acquiring airborne lidar data in Puerto Rico is no easy task. Dynamic weather, rain forests, restricted airspaces, along with mountains that quickly rise from the coast are just some of the challenges that must be overcome when performing an airborne lidar survey in Puerto Rico. These challenges also carry over into data processing where added care must be taken to produce an accurate and seamless elevation dataset. The data produced for these projects proved to be vital to the response efforts for Hurricane?s Irma and Maria that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. Since then, the USGS has tasked Dewberry to return to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands to collect topographic lidar data that will support the recovery efforts that are underway. The new topographic lidar survey was conducted with two RIEGL VQ-1560i sensors. This presentation will detail the data acquisition and processing of the topographic lidar data collected in 2016-2017 and provide insight to the lessons we learned working in this rugged, tropical landscape. It will also provide an overview and status of the Post-Maria lidar project currently underway.