Beyond 3-D: The new spectrum of lidar applications for earth and ecological sciences

Jan U.H. Eitel, Bernhard Höfle, Lee A. Vierling, Antonio Abellán, Gregory P. Asner, Jeffrey S. Deems, Craig L. Glennie, Philip C. Joerg, Adam L. LeWinter, Troy S. Magney, Gottfried Mandlburger, Douglas C. Morton, Jörg Müller, Kerri T. Vierling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


Capturing and quantifying the world in three dimensions (x,y,z) using light detection and ranging (lidar) technology drives fundamental advances in the Earth and Ecological Sciences (EES). However, additional lidar dimensions offer the possibility to transcend basic 3-D mapping capabilities, including i) the physical time (t) dimension from repeat lidar acquisition and ii) laser return intensity (LRIλ) data dimension based on the brightness of single- or multi-wavelength (λ) laser returns. The additional dimensions thus add to the x,y, and z dimensions to constitute the five dimensions of lidar (x,y,z, t, LRIλ1… λn). This broader spectrum of lidar dimensionality has already revealed new insights across multiple EES topics, and will enable a wide range of new research and applications. Here, we review recent advances based on repeat lidar collections and analysis of LRI data to highlight novel applications of lidar remote sensing beyond 3-D. Our review outlines the potential and current challenges of time and LRI information from lidar sensors to expand the scope of research applications and insights across the full range of EES applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-392
Number of pages21
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Data dimensions
  • Hyperspectral lidar
  • Hypertemporal lidar
  • Laser return intensity
  • Multispectral lidar
  • Multitemporal lidar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond 3-D: The new spectrum of lidar applications for earth and ecological sciences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this