Lidar Shines in Northern Nevada

by Jay Johnson (ArcUser, Spring 2019, pages 54–57)

A message from Rich Koehler, NBMG: The lidar data set NBMG was instrumental in acquiring through the USGS 3DEP program is featured in an article in ArcUser magazine.  It highlights how our local municipality is using the data and encourages other cities to get involved with the 3DEP program.

Read the entire article here:
https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/arcuser/lidarshines/
https://www.esri.com/content/dam/esrisites/en-us/newsroom/arcuser/G432829_AU-spring-168364_WEB.pdf

Excerpts from article: “Turning a terabyte (TB) of lidar data into ready-to-use GIS products can be quite challenging.  In this article, I share the strategies I used to transform lidar data into GIS products to benefit Washoe County, Nevada.”

“In 2017, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), in cooperation with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) and local cooperators, flew a lidar mission to collect quality level 1 (QL1) and quality level 2 (QL2) LAS data across more than 1,500 square miles covering Reno, Sparks, Carson City, and surrounding areas in northern Nevada. Local cooperators included the Washoe County Regional Basemap Committee (Washoe County, City of Reno, City of Sparks, and NV Energy), US Forest Service, Lyon County, and Storey County.

Here are a few articles sent in previous NBMG emails that explain the background of the lidar acquisition project and data that is now publicly available.

Researchers made 3D laser maps of northern Nevada and the data is available to anyone online

Reno Gazette Journal, 12/21/18, by Benjamin Spillman
https://www.rgj.com/story/life/outdoors/2018/12/21/laser-data-creates-most-detailed-maps-ever-reno-carson/2387823002/
This story includes a video interview: “Researcher Seth Dee of University of Nevada explains how recently made LiDAR maps of Reno and Carson City will help Nevadans for years to come.


Revealing our dynamic landscape through new high-resolution topographic data: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology’s regional-scale lidar mapping provides novel insights into earthquake, flood and glacial history
Nevada Today, 12/18/2018, by: Jane Tors
https://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2018/nbmg-lidar-mapping-project


Below the Neon: Reno’s Bare Earth
Recent RenoSparksCarson City Lidar Acquisition Project
Story maps provide an excellent means for NBMG staff to share information about programs and activities throughout Nevada with the public. NBMG Cartography and GIS group members Irene Seelye and Rachel Micander have created a story map documenting the recent lidar acquisition in the greater Reno–Sparks–Carson City area. This story map, titled “Reno’s Bare Earth: Below the Neon,” documents the differences between various quality levels of lidar data, air photos, and the bare earth data that are obtained with lidar. This recent lidar acquisition was made possible with matching funds from the Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno and through partnerships with the Washoe Regional Basemap Committee, the US Forest Service, Lyon County, and Storey County.

Read more about the plan, collaborators, and the final products here: https://nbmg.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=d56cc0a4bb4c425093f63cb43550e720

KNPR Audio Interview with Seth Dee

UNR Uncovers New Earthquake Faults in Nevada
KNPR, 1-2-19, by Kristy Totten
https://knpr.org/knpr/2019-01/unr-uncovers-new-earthquake-faults-nevada

The complete article is copied below.

A new kind of mapping technology being used by the University of Nevada, Reno sounds a little like X-ray vision.

It can create incredibly accurate topographical maps using lasers.

“Basically, it’s sending pulses of light, which gets bounced off whatever it hits off first, and bounces back up to the sensor on the instrument,” said Seth Dee, a mapping specialist with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

The laser technology is attached to airplanes that fly over swaths of land collecting data. The flyover of the Reno and Carson City areas happened in the fall of 2017 but it wasn’t until this past summer that UNR received the data.

So far, the research has uncovered previously unknown earthquake faults, landslides and even an Ice Age lake that no longer exists.

But that’s not all LiDAR data can do, Dee explained. Because of how the light bounces off objects it registers vegetation but researchers can delete that data to look only at the ‘bare earth’ picture.

Biologists, on the other hand, can use the vegetation data for their own look at the tree canopy.

Dee said the information gathered in the mapping for Nevada can be used by a myriad of industries and researchers to find everything from dangerous abandoned mines to roadside ditches.

For Dee and his colleagues, they’re getting detailed information about fault lines they knew about in the Reno area but now understand much better.

“What this helps us do is map those a lot more accurately and analyze them in a way that can help us rank their relative hazard,” he said.

The new fault lines they found were in the mountains west of Reno that were difficult to map because of all the vegetation.

“When you don’t have LiDAR, it is essentially blurry and when you do have this it’s like you put on glasses and can see all these things,” Dee said.

View the story map here and search for your house and other landmarks here.

Guest: Seth Dee, Geologic Mapping Specialist, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology

Below the Neon: Reno’s Bare Earth Recent Reno–Sparks–Carson City Lidar Acquisition Project

Story maps provide an excellent means for NBMG staff to share information about programs and activities throughout Nevada with the public. NBMG Cartography and GIS group members Irene Seelye and Rachel Micander have created a story map documenting the recent lidar acquisition in the greater Reno–Sparks–Carson City area. This story map, titled “Reno’s Bare Earth: Below the Neon,” documents the differences between various quality levels of lidar data, air photos, and the bare earth data that are obtained with lidar. This recent lidar acquisition was made possible with matching funds from the Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno and through partnerships with the Washoe Regional Basemap Committee, the US Forest Service, Lyon County, and Storey County. Read more about the plan, collaborators, and the final products here: https://nbmg.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=d56cc0a4bb4c425093f63cb43550e720

Revealing our dynamic landscape through new high-resolution topographic data: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology’s regional-scale lidar mapping provides novel insights into earthquake, flood and glacial history
Nevada Today, 12/18/2018, by: Jane Tors
https://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2018/nbmg-lidar-mapping-project

The complete article is copied below.

If you could pull back the vegetation and man-made structures and have a high definition view from above, what would you learn about the landscapes and valleys below? A lot, it turns out.

A significant recent effort by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) utilized airborne lidar technology to produce high-resolution topographic maps of the Reno–Sparks–Carson City area. The data will benefit a number of in-progress Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology studies to understand earthquake and flood hazards, as well as natural resources.

Preliminary project findings include:

  • The discovery of more than two dozen, previously unknown earthquake faults, plus better understanding of many previously identified faults.
  • The extent of large and geologically young landslide deposits at the mouth of Ophir Creek in Washoe Valley.
  • Evidence for a large lake during the end of the last ice age in Lemmon Valley.
  • The size and geologic history of ice-aged glaciers on Mount Rose.

Using Light Detection and Ranging technology, or lidar, the project collected data by bouncing light pulses off the surface of the earth. The result is a high-resolution, three-dimensional topographic map that allows improved identification of geologic features such as flood plains, glacial deposits and earthquake faults. This can also support the assessment of ecological systems, infrastructure planning and the identification of geothermal reserves to support clean-energy production.

The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology created an online story map, titled Reno’s Bare Earth: Below the Neon, to document the project and share examples of lidar images. Visit the story map at http://www.unr.edu/nbmg/bare-earth

A Collaborative Effort

Under the direction of Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Director Jim Faulds and spearheaded by faculty member and Geologic Mapping Specialist Seth Dee, the project received initial funding through the USGS and Research & Innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The many significant implications of this high quality dataset were quickly evident. Several entities and agencies recognized this potential and extended financial support to allow the lidar data to be expanded in areal coverage and acquired at a greater level of resolution. The Washoe County Regional Basemap Committee, the U.S. Forest Service, Lyon County, Storey County, City of Reno, City of Sparks and NV Energy are among those that provided additional support for the project and are now using the data for planning or hazard mitigation.

Exploring Nevada’s Wide-Open Spaces

Through the USGS’s 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), lidar mapping has been completed in many other states, though typically concentrated in urban or well-populated settings. The USGS 3DEP program requires a 1:1 funding match, which is easier to obtain for more populated areas with large amounts of private land. In the wide-open spaces of Nevada, where approximately 86 percent of the state is owned by the federal government, it is more difficult to obtain this match and thus lidar acquisitions have progressed more slowly compared to other regions. This presents opportunities for future work in the region and adds the element of discovery to nearly any lidar acquisition in the state.

“Nevada is still the wild west,” said Rachel Micander, a geographic information system analyst in the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. “There’s a lot going on in this state from the geographic and geologic perspectives. Nevada is the second most mountainous state and the state with the most named mountain ranges.”

“Nevada is still relatively unexplored; we are still figuring it out,” said Faulds. “We don’t know as much about our flood hazards compared to many other parts of the country, and we continue to find new earthquake faults. There’s a whole element of discovery here that isn’t happening in other areas.”

Seth Dee remarked that the new lidar data acquisition for the area “is the equivalent of getting a much better lens on a telescope. The best topography widely available 20 years ago was from contours every 40 feet on a topographic map. With lidar we get a grid of data with elevation measurements spaced at least every meter (~3 ft), accurate to 10 cm (4 inches) vertically. We can now quickly map sub-meter geologic features, in addition to countless applications in other disciplines.”

Understanding Hazards

It’s well known that Nevada is a seismically active state. Faulds noted that understanding the geologic setting and finding new faults should not be a cause for concern, but rather recognized as valuable information in the effort to monitor seismic activity, mitigate hazards, aid in the planning of infrastructure and development, and guide future geologic exploration.

“These data can help us focus in on where to conduct our geologic work,” he said. “We see there is a fault scarp at a certain location; we now know we need to go there to learn more.”

The mapping data also informs flood planning by accurately defining what land could be inundated when flood waters rise. The Reno’s Bare Earth: Below the Neon online story map, which was developed by Micander and her fellow geographic information system analyst, Irene Seelye, shows the example of the Carson River near Dayton, Nevada.

The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology team is understandably proud of the project and deeply appreciative of the support and engagement behind it.

“This demonstrates the University’s public service role and the role of statewide programs that are out there doing things for the public good,” said Faulds.  “This is a great example of partnership and what we strive to do to achieve really broad benefits.”

 

Researchers made 3D laser maps of northern Nevada and the data is available to anyone online
Reno Gazette Journal, 12/21/18, by Benjamin Spillman
https://www.rgj.com/story/life/outdoors/2018/12/21/laser-data-creates-most-detailed-maps-ever-reno-carson/2387823002/

This story includes a video interview: “Researcher Seth Dee of University of Nevada explains how recently made LiDAR maps of Reno and Carson City will help Nevadans for years to come.”

USGS Nevada 3DEP Factsheet

This message was forwarded from Carol Ostergren:

From: Carol Ostergren
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 10:12 AM
Subject: [SMAC] USGS Nevada 3DEP factsheet Online Publication Notice – Fact Sheet 2015-3028

Good morning,

I’m very pleased to release the 3DEP lidar factsheet for the great State of Nevada (attached). Thanks go to many individuals across the state who have led the charge for lidar knowledge and coordination. Special thanks to the Nevada State Geologists, Jon Price and Jim Faulds, for sponsoring lidar requirements gathering over the past 5 years, NBMG staff, in particular Seth Dee for his contributions, the NGIS board for lidar strategic planning efforts, and many others.

Also, on the lidar front, see the press release below for the summary of the first round BAA awards in 2015 http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4160#.VRLzs_nF98E

Next up—state meetings! We will be hosting 1 or 2 public meetings in Nevada to further information sharing about the 3DEP program and the next opportunity for proposals. Announcements for timing and places will be forthcoming.

More information about the 3DEP program can be found at http://nationalmap.gov/3dep/

The following USGS online publication was approved for release and has been made available to the public.

USGS Fact Sheet 2015-3028: The 3D Elevation Program—Summary for Nevada

Suggested citation:
Carswell, W.J., Jr., 2015, The 3D Elevation Program—Summary for Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015–3028, 2 p.

This publication is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2015/3028/. After the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and product metadata have been registered by CrossRef, the official URL will be http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153028 .

This publication is available online only.

USGS News Release — LiDAR Technology Reveals Faults Near Lake Tahoe

CARNELIAN BAY, Calif. — Results of a new U.S. Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Ta…

CARNELIAN BAY, Calif. — Results of a new U.S. Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9. A close association of landslide deposits and active faults also suggests that there is an earthquake-induced landslide hazard along the steep fault-formed range front west of Lake Tahoe. Read full article: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3218

Graham Kent speaks at NPS-Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who: Dr. Graham Kent; Director, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, University of Nevada, RenoWhat: Nevada Petroleum Society meetingTitle: M7 in the Tahoe basin: An exploration of recent seismic CHIRP and airborne LiDAR imageryWhen: Thursday, Septemb…

Who: Dr. Graham Kent; Director, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, University of Nevada, Reno

What: Nevada Petroleum Society meeting

Title: M7 in the Tahoe basin: An exploration of recent seismic CHIRP and airborne LiDAR imagery

When: Thursday, September 8, 2011

RSVP by MONDAY, Sept. 5 to Diane Phillips (775) 267-4663 or trailsend@pyramid.net

Cocktails: 6:30 PM; Dinner Served at 7:00 PM

NPS Members $20; Non-Members $23; Students $10
Menu: Buffet style including chicken & beef entrees with side dishes and salad

Where:

Ramada Reno Hotel (Washoe Room)

1000 East 6th Street

Reno, NV 89512

http://www.ramadareno.com/home.aspx

The Ramada Reno Hotel & Casino is located one mile from the junction of Interstate 80 and Highway 395 on 6th Street. From Interstate 80:Take Exit 14, Wells Avenue. Travel one block and turn left onto 6th Street.

Lake Tahoe Basin LiDAR data released

http://www.opentopography.org/index.php/news/detail/lake_tahoe_basin_lidar_data_released“I’m pleased to announce that you can now download the 2010 Tahoe LiDAR data from http://www.opentopography.org/ at your convenience. Access to the data from t…

http://www.opentopography.org/index.php/news/detail/lake_tahoe_basin_lidar_data_released

“I’m pleased to announce that you can now download the 2010 Tahoe LiDAR data from http://www.opentopography.org/  at your convenience.  Access to the data from the website is pretty straight forward – once you access the homepage, click on the “data” tab or “find data” button and you will be introduced to a map.  Zoom into the Tahoe Basin polygon or the area of interest.  Select the “Select a Region” button on the left hand side of the screen then select the area within the basin that you want data.  The larger the area you select, the more time it will take to process. Alternatively, at the bottom of the map, is a link to “list all datasets”, clicking this link will bring you to a list of all datasets hosted by opentopography.  You can select the Tahoe LiDAR dataset from there as well.   Follow the steps to specify what information and format you want downloaded.  I encourage you to register for an account with opentopography to gain greater access to data.  Please share this website with your colleagues.  P.S. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Graham Kent, Ramon Arrowsmith, David Saah, Chris Crosby, Toby Welborne and Watershed Sciences for making this happen.” (from  J. Shane Romsos, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Department Manager, Measurement Department)