April 14, 2023, British Columbia – B.C. communities can look forward to high-quality data to support effective and informed decision-making on the planning and management of wildfires, landslides, floods and other natural events, the province has said.
The government is investing more than $38 million in a new program over the next six years to collect light distance and ranging (LiDAR) elevation data.
LiDAR is a modern survey method that uses aerial remote sensing technology to map the Earth’s surface. It is designed to deliver highly detailed and accurate three-dimensional mappings of landscapes. Unlike the province’s current digital models of landscapes that are based on aerial imagery taken 30 years ago, LiDAR-based mapping is said to include detailed representations of forests, bodies of water, and buildings, as well as other infrastructure.
The province said it currently makes a large collection of LiDAR data free and equally accessible to everyone in B.C. Gathering more LiDAR data is expected to create better certainty for First Nations, local governments, communities, decision-makers, land-use planners and other stakeholders when planning for the impacts of climate change.
The government also said high-resolution mapping derived from LiDAR will provide information that is critical to several fields, including natural-resource management disciplines like forestry, wildfire and fuels, surface hydrology, agriculture, ecology, wildlife, habitat management and restoration, geology and geomorphology.
The province said that LiDAR information will also support meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as shared decision-making in resource management relies on evidence-based decisions using the best available data.
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