Ecology and Conservation

Aerial Geiger-mode Lidar—A more timely and cost-effective alternative to traditional large-area field surveys

As human development pressures grow, the impact of conservation spending tends to decline. To help offset this decline, conservation planning and management actors are increasingly turning to geospatial data to achieve greater efficiencies and impact. Understanding landscape structure, with its inherent heterogeneity of habitats, is crucial for biodiversity conservation.

Highly accurate terrain data has become indispensable to a wide range of organizations engaged in conservation activities, from state and federal agencies to NGOs, academia, land managers and private corporations. Detailed geospatial data enable users to understand human impacts on specific areas, to identify conservation priorities, and to monitor progress over time in delivering on conservation commitments. Geospatial data can, for example, provide a clear picture of what habitat types exist on a conservation reserve and how they change over time. They can also help to maximize resources by focusing conservation efforts on vulnerable areas where they will have the greatest impact, such as areas requiring emergency conservation management. In addition, governments rely on geospatial data to report on protected areas under international commitments such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

VeriDaaS’s method and technologies for geospatial data acquisition offer the potential for significant cost savings relative to time-consuming field surveys. VeriDaaS’s Geiger-Mode lidar is optimized for collection with unprecedented accuracy and detail on wide area projects. VeriDaaS’ high-definition Geiger-Mode lidar enables collection at rates well beyond current linear lidar and delivers higher-resolution imagery from multiple angles with higher sample rates, larger arrays and higher sensitivity. This enables better-informed and lower-cost management of protected areas and species.


Geospatial data is critical to the conservation of large lakes and reservoirs, as well as smaller bodies of water. It can help predict shoreline flooding and erosion. It can also be used for floodplain mapping, watershed delineation and depression analysis, enabling users to better understand how water flows and ponds on the landscape, and to identify where conditions may be sufficient to allow for wetland formation. The fine detail of VeriDaaS’s high-density data also allows users to discriminate wet non-wetlands from actual wetlands, thereby creating a more accurate wetland inventory. Lidar intensity data significantly improves the mapping of water inundation below forest canopy. Lidar intensity data can be used to map actual and potential dynamic variations in wetland extent and key functional drivers. Moreover, lidar-derived topographic metrics can be used to predict the movement and distribution of water and relative wetness across the landscape.


Interest in connectivity has increased in the aquatic sciences. Geospatial data plays an important role in understanding how freshwater aquatic ecosystems (such as streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands) connect and interact. High-density lidar data can play a key role in efforts to strategically reconnect fragmented aquatic habitats by targeting the removal or bypass of the barriers to fish passage that are most likely to produce ecological benefits.


A significant challenge in forestry management is the difficulty of obtaining large-area forest structure characteristics at useful resolutions and accuracies. Accurate, high-quality LiDAR data enables the assessment of the vertical structure and density of forests at high spatial resolutions. This allows government to better understand complex forest structures and generate accurate forest inventory. Such LiDAR data can also be used to develop forest fire behavior models. In addition, they provide information critical to understanding a forest’s ecology and the habitats within a forest. Subcanopy topography, canopy height, basal area, canopy cover, and biomass can all be derived from LiDAR data.


Habitat structure is important in understanding species diversity patterns for many animal groups. Determining species’ vulnerability to extinction and quantifying the extent of habitat loss and fragmentation are vital to conservation. VeriDaaS’s high-density elevation data enables the creation of detailed maps of a species’ range (including area, spatial configuration and connectivity), while land forest-cover data provides critical loss-of-habitat information that can greatly improve estimates of a particular species’ risk of extinction, enabling conservationists to make informed decisions about prioritizing certain areas over others for protection. VeriDaaS’s high-density data can also enable conservationists to identify parts of the landscape that have the greatest potential diversity of particular animal groups and target conservation management accordingly.

Example Imagery

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