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DNR releases LiDAR data for proposed pipeline corridors

(Fairbanks, AK) - DNR’s Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) announces the release of the first of several high-resolution LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) datasets for the proposed Alaska Pipeline Project (APP) and Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) corridors.

The airborne LiDAR survey was conducted in fall 2011 and spring-summer 2012 by contractor Watershed Sciences, Inc., of Corvallis, Oregon, over proposed transportation and infrastructure corridors from Prudhoe Bay to the Canada border, Delta Junction to Valdez, and Livengood to the Point MacKenzie area. Funding from the state Gas Pipeline Project Office, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and Office of the Federal Coordinator supported the project, which covered a total area of about 3,000 square miles. Survey corridors were a minimum of one mile wide along proposed pipeline routes, one-half mile wide along support roads, such as the Dalton Highway, where existing roads deviate from the pipeline corridors, and much wider in some areas of known potential hazards such as active faults and slope instability. The map shows the areas surveyed and the location of the first LiDAR data release of approximately 660 square miles. DGGS will release data for the remaining areas over the next few months following delivery from the contractor.

LiDAR data can be used to generate detailed bare-earth digital elevation models (DEMs) and hillshade images, which allow geologists and engineers to view and analyze the earth’s surface as if all vegetation were stripped away. These products make it possible to identify hazards such as active faults and landslides that may otherwise be undetectable, especially in areas of dense vegetation. This type of information is critical for making permitting and design decisions along these corridors. Because the LiDAR data also contain above-ground points representing vegetation, power lines, pipelines, bridges, and other features, many other uses are also possible, such as vegetation biomass studies and structure inventories.

Products available for download by quadrangle from the DGGS website (www.dggs.alaska.gov) include bare-earth DEMs, bare-earth hillshade images, LiDAR intensity images, water-body polygons, and FGDC-compliant metadata. Point cloud data, digital surface models, vegetation metrics, elevation contours, and other products will be available in the future. For more information, please contact the DGGS publications office (907-451-5020 or dggspubs@alaska.gov) or visit the division’s office at 3354 College Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709.

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