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LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target. The prevalent method to determine distance to an object or surface is to use laser pulses. Like the similar radar technology, which uses radio waves, the range to an object is determined by measuring the time delay between transmission of a pulse and detection of the reflected signal. LIDAR technology has application in Geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, remote sensing and atmospheric physics.[1] Applications of LIDAR include ALSM (Airborne Laser Swath Mapping), laser altimetry or LIDAR Contour Mapping. The acronym LADAR (Laser Detection and Ranging) is often used in military contexts. The term "laser radar" is also in use even though LIDAR does not employ microwaves or radio waves, which is definitional to radar.


General description

The primary difference between LIDAR and radar is that LIDAR uses much shorter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically in the ultraviolet, visible, or near infrared range. In general it is possible to image a feature or object only about the same size as the wavelength, or larger. Thus lidar is highly sensitive to aerosols and cloud particles and has many applications in atmospheric research and meteorology[1].

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