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Identifying Man-Made Landforms with LiDAR

Any significant disturbance in the ground surface can be seen with high-resolution LiDAR data. A recent geologic mapping project for the Petersburg National Battlefield completed by DGMR used 1-meter LiDAR data to identify Civil War earthworks, trenches, and fort structures that can be difficult to see with aerial photography, or even by walking the landscape on foot!

Civil War Fort

Civil War Fort

The even lines in the image below represent plowing for a tree farm in Chesterfield County. Farming and earth excavation often leave traces that clearly visable on bare-earth LIDAR.

Tree farm, northwest of Petersburg in Chesterfield County, Virginia

Tree farm in Chesterfield County, Virginia

This beautiful flower shape is actually five baseball fields surrounding an athletic complex in Newport News. If you look carefully, you can even pick out the pitcher’s mounds!

Flatirons on Peters Mountain, Virginia

Athletic Complex Newport News, Virginia

LiDAR can help us identify abandoned mine sites, as seen in the image below of the Bertha and Edith placer gold mine in Fluvanna County. Learn more about abandoned mines in Virginia.

Bertha and Edith placer gold mine in Fluvanna County

Bertha and Edith placer gold mine, Fluvanna County, Virginia