Lidar Imagery Now Available for Viewing on the Washington Geologic Information Portal

It’s finally here!  You can now view lidar imagery in our Geology Portal. We’ve added mosaics of both bare-earth and top surface lidar hillshades to the list of available base layers.

To load the lidar imagery, select the layers from the Map Contents window (they’re in the Base Layers group).

What’s a Lidar Hillshade?

Lidar hillshades are renderings of the lidar elevation model using simulated illumination. Bare-earth lidar shows only the ground surface (trees, vegetation, and the built environment is removed). Top surface lidar shows the first features the lidar laser hits from the airplane, including trees, buildings, bridges, and even utility lines.

Here’s an example of a bare-earth lidar hillshade of a local landmark:


Here’s the same landmark using a top surface lidar hillshade.


How Do I View the Lidar?

menu_shot2Open the Geology Portal, and in the Map Contents window, scroll down to Lidar Hillshade (see photo). Expand the menu by clicking the “plus” symbol. Select either bare-earth or top surface and click to turn the layer on. Voila!

You can adjust the transparency of the layer with the slider toggle to the right of the Lidar Hillshade title.


How Do I Download the Lidar?

While you can only view the lidar data on the Geology Portal, we have much of this data available for viewing and download on our new Lidar Portal. More data is coming soon!