The NSF supported National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) is operated jointly by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and the Department of Earth & Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley. NCALM uses an Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM) system based at the UH Geosensing Imaging & Mapping Laboratory. The state-of-the-art laser surveying instrumentation and GPS systems collect data in areas selected through the competitive NSF grant review process.
The LIDAR data is processed to produce highly accurate three-dimensional digital elevation models of the surveyed areas. At Berkeley we process the data from the raw laser information to the end-user GIS products, develop algorithms and tools for new processing techniques and improving the data worfklow, as well as provide a permanent archiving solution for the large amounts of data from the surveys and subsequent processing. The archiving and Unix-processing resources are managed with the cooperation and expertise of the Berkeley Seismological Lab Computing Center. At Berkeley we also develop, manage and update NCALM's Online Data Distribution Center that provides public access to research-grade LIDAR data from various project that enter their open-access stage after a period of PI exclusivity.