GeoWorld March 2012

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BY TORIN HASKELL Geotechnology and Infrastructure Myriad Examples Highlight a Successful Pairing An increasing number and variety of industries and agencies more thoroughly understand the value of incorporating geospatial technologies in the process of addressing today's infrastructure needs. Although many think of geotechnologies only when applied to topographic or floodplain mapping, the well of possibilities quickly is moving beyond that. From infrastructure asset management to documentation of existing conditions, geotechnologies are becoming a preferred technical resource for acquiring and managing data. The following examples describe how geotechnologies are being applied to infrastructure needs. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Rainwater Basin Conservation TECHNOLOGY USED: LIDAR PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Identify existing conditions, and restore and permanently protect 37,000 acres of high-quality wetlands and 25,000 acres of associated uplands with adequate water and distribution to meet the habitat needs of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Update existing floodplain maps. In natural-resources conservation, light detec- tion and ranging (LIDAR) can be used in a variety of ways, including watershed and conservation planning, engineering, soil surveys, hydrology modeling, and habitat restoration. LIDAR was exceptionally valuable when the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (comprised of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey) began to address a declining migratory waterfowl habitat located in south-central Nebraska and north-central Kansas. This 6,100-square-mile landscape includes the narrowest portion of the "Central Flyway," where millions of waterfowl rest, feed and pair on their annual migrations. LIDAR was used to collect data to create a digital elevation model for habitat management and update flood maps in the area. More specifi- cally, it serves as part of the wetland-restoration index, a tool used to prioritize habitat protection and restoration activities as well as for stream restoration along the Platte River. The LIDAR data were acquired by two air- craft over a span of three months. Data 26 GEO W ORLD / MARCH 2O12 LIDAR data show I-80 as it crosses central Nebraska and the Rainwater Basin. were acquired night and/or day, dependent on weather and ground conditions. Strict coordination was required for the acquisition downstream from a canal outlet located on the Platte River, as it was necessary to collect LIDAR data at the lowest water flow to maxi- mize the technology's benefit to this area's specific morphology. Case Studies

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