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A Look at Earth Archive, a Project To Produce Detailed Maps of All the Land on Earth Through Laser Scanning

Published by Slashdot on Sat, 12 Oct 2019


A project to produce detailed maps of all the land on Earth through laser scanning has been revealed by researchers who say action is needed now to preserve a record of the world's cultural, environmental and geological treasures. From a report: Prof Chris Fisher, an archaeologist from Colorado State University, said he founded the Earth Archive as a response to the climate crisis. "We are going to lose a significant amount of both cultural patrimony -- so archaeological sites and landscapes -- but also ecological patrimony -- plants and animals, entire landscapes, geology, hydrology," Fisher told the Guardian. "We really have a limit time to record those things before the Earth fundamentally changes." He also said that while it was important to take action on the climate crisis, even if we started "living like the Flintstones," changes are already taking place. The main technology Fisher hopes to use is aircraft-based Lidar, a scanning technique in which laser pulses are directed at the Earth's surface from an instrument attached to an aircraft. The time it takes for the pulses to bounce back is measured, allowing researchers to work out the distance to the object or surface they strike. Combined with location data, the approach allows scientists to build 3D maps of an area. The method has already helped reveal ancient cities deep in jungles and map the full extent of sites built by rivals to the Aztecs.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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