People and communities can look forward to more freely accessible high-quality data to support informed and effective decision-making on climate resiliency and land-use planning as the LidarBC program is now underway.
Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data can be used to help communities plan for and respond to climate emergencies, support habitat and ecosystem protection and inform sustainable forestry management.
“B.C. covers almost a million square kilometres and almost none of it is properly mapped and understood. Working with First Nations, industry and other interest groups, B.C. is taking action to map every corner of the province,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “By providing freely available LiDAR data, our province will be able to better adapt to climate change, make more and better decisions to protect old growth and give Indigenous partners and industry the data they need to create more jobs.”
LiDAR is a modern survey method that employs a laser-based aerial remote-sensing technology to map the Earth’s surface by measuring distances. It has been around since the 1970s, but with technological advancements and commercialization, it has become a more cost-effective and feasible method of data collection in recent years.
High-resolution mapping derived from LiDAR is crucial information in a number of fields, such as forestry, wildfire and fuels, surface hydrology, agriculture, ecology, wildlife, habitat management and restoration, geology and geomorphology.
“Gathering more LiDAR data will create better certainty for First Nations, local governments, communities, decision-makers, land-use planners and other parties when planning for the impacts of climate change, including wildfires, landslides, floods and other climate-driven events,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “It will also help advance reconciliation efforts, provide economic opportunities and guide stewardship of provincial public land and resources by informing decisions on modernized land-use planning.”
B.C. has signed a contract with Kîsik Geospatial and Aerial Survey (Kîsik) to collect LiDAR elevation data. This process delivers highly detailed and accurate three-dimensional mappings of landscapes for all of B.C.
The Province makes a large collection of LiDAR data that accounts for 14% of B.C.’s landscape free and equally accessible to everyone on the LidarBC website. New LiDAR data sourced from Kîsik will significantly update the Province’s digital models of landscapes that are based on aerial imagery taken 30 years ago, and will include detailed representations of forests, buildings and other infrastructure.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
““Surveying our landscape with LiDAR will improve our understanding of climate-change effects on our communities and environment. This will help us make better real-time decisions, conduct more comprehensive research and keep our communities and environment safer.”
Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness –
“The rapidly changing climate has fundamentally transformed our approach to disaster-risk reduction. Access to accurate and reliable information is at the core of being prepared for wildfires, floods and other emergencies. This partnership will help support the Province, First Nations and local authorities with the foundational knowledge they need to make informed decisions on planning, responding and reducing the impacts of climate change.”
Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –
“The collection and use of LiDAR data plays a critical role in project delivery for my ministry, from early planning all the way through construction. The widespread availability of LiDAR will significantly benefit our emergency response and recovery following natural disasters that impact our road and highway network. With this data available, we can manage risk more effectively and engineer solutions more efficiently, keeping people and communities safer and better connected.”
Thomas Dionne, general manager, Kîsik Geospatial and Aerial Survey –
“On behalf of Kîsik Aerial Survey, we are excited and proud to be a part of this ambitious program. Over the last 13 years, Kîsik, a B.C.-based company, has flown tens of thousands of hours above B.C.’s rugged terrain collecting high-quality airborne sensor data. Our seasoned team is honoured to put their experience to work on such an important project for the future of our province.”
- In April 2023, the Province announced $38 million in support for a new program to acquire LiDAR data for the entire Province.
- Kîsik is using two aircraft that will cover 950,000 square kilometres to gather data.
- Kîsik has been actively collecting LiDAR data for the Province for a month.
- In that time, Kîsik has acquired LiDAR data for 1.7% (16,000 square kilometres) of B.C.’s land base.
- The program will initially concentrate on gathering data for rural areas and other areas of the Province that are not currently represented in the LidarBC database.
- Data for previously captured parts of B.C.’s landscape will be updated.
Learn more about LiDAR, or discover and download LiDAR data as it becomes available online: https://lidar.gov.bc.ca/