LiDAR is an acronym of ‘Light Detection And Ranging. It is a method for determining ranges by targeting an object or a surface with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. It is sometimes called 3-D laser scanning, a special combination of 3-D scanning and laser scanning.

LiDAR has many applications in surveying, geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry. In addition, it is used to make digital 3-D representations of areas on the Earth’s surface and ocean bottom and to measure the velocity of a target. It is a key technology for autonomous vehicles and for the helicopter Ingenuity on Mars.

If you study the two attached images, one is a general aerial image of an area, and the second the same area using LiDAR. It is easy to see why archaeologists use this advanced technology when researching a landscape to inform on traces left by past interventions through human activity. It is enables much more accurate interpretations and assessment of the historical and archaeological potential of an area.

LiDAR reveals the ‘hidden’ landscape stripped bare of vegetation. By the ‘magic’ laser enclosures, trackways, banks and ditches and much more become visible.