Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LIDAR and the Real World

For the past two months, I have been posting garishly colored  images of  LIDAR terrain models.  LIDAR imaging certainly is a fun activity during snow storms, but now it is time to take the data to the real world. Sunday afternoon I followed some GPS coordinates generated from a LIDAR image to an unfamiliar  hilltop somewhere in western RI.   At the edge of the hilltop, I found a perched boulder faintly resembling an animal head.

 Next, I noticed this perched boulder with an interesting shape.

The top of the hill has many large boulders in clusters. 

This very large boulder showed up as a "peak" in the LIDAR image.

  Closer examination showed it is truly massive, at least  10 feet tall and 15 feet long.

This angle shows its symmetrical oval shape. It must have been an impressive landmark many years ago.

Downhill from the massive perched boulder stands an impressive propped boulder.

I could not find these boulders on satellite imaging because pine trees obscure the view. Here is the original LIDAR image.

This looks much better in Grass GIS 3D on my monitor, but the massive perched boulder and some of the clusters of  large boulders are visible, and marked below.

LIDAR can show patterns of large boulders suggesting interesting sites, as well as walls and large rock piles.  Very large and oddly shaped boulders may have had significance to the Natives, and often are surrounded by smaller stone structures.  This broad and level hilltop may have once been an important campsite or meeting place.

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