Aug 17, 2017

State, Local Officials Undergo Lidar Data Training

Woolpert provides training session in Tennessee

Woolpert conducted its third lidar data training session in the state of Tennessee, hosted by the GIS lab at Roane State Community College’s Oak Ridge, Tenn., campus. The two-day, hands-on software training is part of a series performed in coordination with the Tennessee Geographic Information Council (TNGIC) and GeoCue Group. These training sessions are designed to help government agencies and state and local officials most effectively leverage high-resolution lidar elevation data to benefit their constituents.

Woolpert—a national architecture, engineering and geospatial (AEG) firm—developed the curriculum for the series in in conjunction with the state of Tennessee and GeoCue.

“We want municipalities, GIS professionals and students to understand how to apply this data to serve their specific needs, and to be able to create and share web applications using the lidar data,” said Sam Moffat, Woolpert project manager and geographic information system (GIS) specialist. “That’s why it makes sense to not just collect the data and deliver a final product, but to also provide clients with tools, knowledge and training as part of a comprehensive lidar data service.”

Woolpert has been contracted by federal, state and local government parties to collect lidar data for multiple projects in Tennessee. These projects have supported the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and several initiatives throughout the state.

The data has been used to address many needs, including the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation’s (TDEC) reclamation efforts from coal mining using mountaintop removal practices, impervious surface mapping for storm water management systems, asset management for facilities, and extracting planimetric features such as building footprints to improve GIS for public safety, emergency and flood management, and property valuation.

GIS Analyst Paul Dudley from the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration’s Strategic Technology Solutions-Geographic Information Systems (STS-GIS) wrote and conducts training exercises for the series. STS-GIS provides applications, data and information on geospatial technologies for the Tennessee government, and coordinated the project and funding between the USGS and the state’s GIS community.

Dudley said the training provides a stepping stone for everyone from geospatial stakeholders to engineers to GIS professionals to get what they need from the rich information available.

“It enables people to use the data and go over many use-case scenarios for different types of projects,” Dudley said. “In Tennessee, the data has been beneficial throughout many disciplines. We’ve found that the applications are kind of endless.”

Moffat said the coordination between multiple Tennessee agencies and the USGS has increased the impact of this data exponentially, and this training is the next logical step.