Scavenger Hunt in Rota and Saipan to Gain LIDAR Data

Lynker employees Jamie Carter and Ross Winans recently surveyed sites in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) supporting @NOAA Digital Coast’s LIDAR validation work. In addition, they were able to acquire NGS-compliant data at several of the benchmarks that NGS needs for the Mariana Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022 (MATRF2022) – all while lugging around over 350 pounds of equipment!

They travelled to Rota, Saipan, and Tinian, hiking approximately 25 sites per island. Our work is part of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management’s Digital Coast and critically useful for restoring infrastructure and mitigating hazards.

Lidar data is commonly used and accessed for the rest of the U.S., but none existed for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). Local managers can now use this data to create inundation and storm surge models, shoreline maps, tsunami models and zones, and habitat maps. Additionally, this data will be used to create emergency response plans and assist many coastal resource managers, scientists, and emergency response personnel with disaster preparedness. 

Local and federal agencies had a large stake in this project, while community involvement and support was crucial throughout. NOAA, FEMA, and USDA are all heavily invested in LIDAR data, and this project enhanced their collaboration on data collection and processing. Additionally, we worked with NGS to perform quality assurance on all of the data and be compliant with their standards.

Trekking through these islands was like a large scavenger hunt to find each site, especially the ones with challenging access points and location descriptions – find the corner of the fence post (that no longer exists) and your mark to find the site will be there (but may be buried).