I will of course want to see if I can accomplish this task using free software, since citizen science is ill served by fees or licenses which restrict open collaboration on the widest possible scale.
I've been casually gathering information for the past few months, and here is what I've done so far:
- read about the US National Lidar Dataset project and found out Virginia's dataset status is listed as "partial".
- created an account on the USGS's EarthExplorer website.
- searched for Loudoun County Virginia and filtered on Lidar, which returned a single data set with LiDAR Entity ID: VA_LOUDOUNCO_2012_000298.
- downloaded the 76.7 MB "LAS Product" of this data.
- handed over the data to one of my students, Sam Phillips, who is helping me with this project.
- The Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis, a project of graduate students at the University of Minnesota, can serve as a model and resource for our project (see Minnesota LIDAR Solar Study for a YouTube video about the project).
- The Virginia Lidar website is a good resource for LIDAR data from Virginia.
- Harvard University Center for Geographic Analysis's WorldMap project could be a resource for making maps.
My next post on this topic will describe my first experiments using Python to process LIDAR data...