NCALM Announces 2020 Mexico and Central America Airborne Lidar Collection Campaign

Teotihuacan Intensity Overlay

Mexico and Central America Airborne Lidar Collection Campaign for Small- and Medium-Sized Projects

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping is announcing a call for expressions of interest from researchers with small- to medium-sized projects and budgets in Mexico and Central America for Spring 2020 (March–April). NCALM has received numerous inquiries from researchers with small projects in Mexico and Central America over the years. The size of these projects and their associated budgets make them economically and practically unfeasible. It is possible to survey small projects, and bring large benefits to the broader community, if several small projects within a country or region are grouped together and the mobilization costs are distributed. Project mobilization is also aided by larger projects funded by other sources. NCALM mapped seven small archaeological projects last year for the 2019 Mexico and Central America Lidar Collection Campaign. The work included projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador.

NCALM has initially received expressions of interest for areas in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras. We are looking for additional projects to complement these sites. The smallest individual project budget that will be considered is $15,000. Exact coverage will be determined based on collection density, distance to airports, neighboring projects, and other factors. Send a short description of your project, potential budget, and KMZ of your area of interest if you have interest in participating in a community collection campaign. Projects must be research focused and can include, but are not limited to, archaeology, geology, hydrology, seismology, and ecology.

Please contact us for more information about the campaign and forward this announcement to other researchers that may have an interest in such data collection. The more projects that are organized together, the larger the areas that can be collected for individual projects. NCALM will start data collection in March–April 2020. We will begin requesting permits to fly and collect data for the respective countries in January 2020.

Contact NCALM at ncalm [at] (subject: 2020%20MXCA%20Lidar%20Collection%20Campaign) for more information.


  • NCALM is not providing the budget or funds to perform mapping. We are organizing a campaign to optimize the funds researchers currently have or can obtain.
  • If you are interested in pursuing cooperative work, please send NCALM a response that includes a KMZ of your study area, a one-to-two paragraph description of you research objectives, and a budget of your potentially available funds. NCALM will work with PIs to develop a plan to allow data collection in their focus area.
  • Please provide NCALM with information regarding contacts that you have in the foreign country and locale of interest and current work permits that you have obtained. NCALM is required to have varying permits to perform flights or work in specific areas, depending on the country.


  • NCALM is requesting a preliminary commitment by Monday, January 6, 2020, so we can begin the paperwork and preparation of export licenses and permits to the various countries.
  • A final commitment and confirmation of funds will be requested by Friday, February 14, 2020, so the mapping campaign can be executed during March–April 2020.