• Lake Fryxell Facility Zone and surrounding area, Taylor Valley, Antarctica
  • False-color image from Titan Multi-Wave intensity, University of Houston
  • Dragon's Back Pressure Ridge, San Andreas Fault
  • Dune Fields near White Sands, New Mexico
  • Ancient Mayan settlement of Caracol, Belize

Welcome

The mission of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) is to:

  • Provide research-quality airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) observations to the scientific community.
  • Advance the state of the art in airborne laser mapping.
  • Train and educate graduate students with knowledge of airborne mapping to meet the needs of academic institutions, government agencies, and private industry.

NCALM is based at the University of Houston and is operated in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The center is supported by the National Science Foundation and is associated with the multi-disciplinary Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences graduate program at the University of Houston.

News

Ekhtari Defends Ph.D. Dissertation
November 27, 2018
Ph.D. candidate Nima Ekhtari defended his dissertation titled, "Land Cover and Impervious Surface Mapping Using Multispectral Airborne Laser Scanner Data." High-resolution, multispectral (...
Ekhtari Defends Ph.D. Dissertation

Ph.D. candidate Nima Ekhtari defended his dissertation titled, "Land Cover and Impervious Surface Mapping Using Multispectral Airborne Laser Scanner Data." High-resolution, multispectral (multiwavelength) laser scanner data were used to classify land cover, using machine learning, into diverse classes for impervious surface mapping and urban change studies. The dissertation proposes two methods to mitigate the influence of multi-echo effect on the spectral information of ALS returns. Hybrid intensity correction schemes were also devised and tested to improve classification accuracy. The final impervious surface map showed that the approach had higher accuracies compared to a similar map created from a hyperspectral passive imager, demonstrating the advantage of multispectral ALS data for automated, high-accuracy, high-resolution impervious surface mapping.

Nima’s Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences (GSES) advisor was Dr. Craig Glennie. He is currently working at CobbFendley & Associates as a GIS Analyst. Congratulations, Nima!

Beloved Friend and Colleague Passes Away
November 6, 2018
Faculty, staff, and students at University of Houston’s National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Laura Ann Murphy. Laura was...
Laura Ann Murphy

Faculty, staff, and students at University of Houston’s National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Laura Ann Murphy. Laura was not only essential to our day-to-day research and teaching efforts, but she went above and beyond to ensure that we were happy and doing well. From a simple M&M dispenser that she kept at her desk so we had a sweet moment when we stopped to talk to her, to her famous pineapple upside-down cake and Irish beef and Guinness stew that she often prepared for our pot-lucks or celebrations, to the many lunches, dinners, and outings she organized for staff, students, and visitors, to the unforgettable moments she delighted and entertained us through singing, she has left us with countless memories. Laura was not only special and caring to the people she knew, but she was kind and helpful to those in need that she did not know. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last year, she was one of the first people to organize food, clothing, and supplies collection and delivery for her immediate and city-wide neighbors.

We have lost not only a coworker, but we have lost an important part of our collective spirit. We are certain that she would like us to keep moving forward, to continue to do good for science and our communities, and to put a smile on our friends’, families’, and neighbors’ faces. As we miss her, we also celebrate her life, her accomplishments, and the joy and positive examples she brought to our lives. Below we share photos of a few of these special moments with which she enriched our lives.

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Beyond Archaeology: NCALM Pursues New Technology, New Projects
September 20, 2018
Lidar Mapping Has Also Yielded Other Earth Science Discoveries   The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping is best-known for its headline-grabbing work in archeology – the 2016...
Researchers with the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping used the center's lidar-equipped plane to map the permafrost in Antarctica.

Lidar Mapping Has Also Yielded Other Earth Science Discoveries

 

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping is best-known for its headline-grabbing work in archeology – the 2016 discovery of previously unknown ruins of a complex Maya settlement in the Guatemalan jungles, undocumented settlements from an ancient civilization in Honduras uncovered in 2012, and detailed mapping of more than a dozen other settlements in Mexico and Central America.

NCALM Invites Seed Project Proposals from Graduate Students
September 12, 2018
The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping invites proposals from graduate students seeking airborne lidar data (up to 40 km2) for use in research toward an M.S. or Ph.D. degree. For...
NCALM Invites Seed Project Proposals from Graduate Students

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping invites proposals from graduate students seeking airborne lidar data (up to 40 km2) for use in research toward an M.S. or Ph.D. degree. For background information and a complete guideline for submitting a proposal, see the Seed Proposals and Format Guidelines pages. The proposal submission period is Thursday, September 13–Thursday, December 20, 2018. For more information, contact ncalm [at] egr.uh.edu (subject: Seed%20Project%20Proposal%20Information) or call (832) 842-8881.

Three New NCALM Datasets Released by OpenTopography
September 6, 2018
Three new datasets have been released by OpenTopography. The data were collected using an Optech Titan multispectral lidar and cover more than 270 km2. The projects' PIs were student seed...
Three New NCALM Datasets Released by OpenTopography

Three new datasets have been released by OpenTopography. The data were collected using an Optech Titan multispectral lidar and cover more than 270 km2. The projects' PIs were student seed proposal winners. Read more at opentopography.org.