3-D Lidar’s Stunning Detail of Ancient Mayan Kingdom in Northern Guatemala

In 2016, Juan Fernandez-Diaz, with the University of Houston, and his team flew over more than 800 square miles of forest in Guatemala in an airplane equipped with lidar. For every second they flew, about 2,000 feet above the jungle canopy, the lidar sent about half a million laser pulses (to the ground).”  – Nicholas St. Fleur, TNYT, October 2, 2018

Science, Sept. 28, 2018:  “Lowland Maya civilization flourished in the tropical region of the Yucatan peninsula and environs for more than 2500 years (~1000 BCE to 1500 CE). Known for its sophistication in writing, art, architecture, astronomy, and mathematics, Maya civilization still poses questions about the nature of its cities and surrounding populations because of its location in an inaccessible forest. In 2016, an aerial lidar survey across 2144 square kilometers of northern Guatemala mapped natural terrain and archaeological features over several distinct areas.” Lidar is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor, producing 3-D representations of the target.


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