NKAPC staff spoke at the recent annual conference of the Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors (KAPS) held in Lexington. Their subject was the highly-accurate LiDAR data that is now available for Kenton and Campbell Counties through NKAPC’s LinkGIS.
“We were invited to address the KAPS conference on February 19,” said Trisha Brush, GISP, deputy director for GIS administration. “Conference organizers gave us a two-hour session to discuss LiDAR (Light Detecting And Ranging) technology, what it is, and how we’re currently using it.”
NKAPC’s GIS staff and the LinkGIS Partnership are marketing the new LiDAR data since its incorporation into their operations last year. Several recipients’ use of the data was highlighted in staff’s presentation to the surveyors’ group.
“We provided LiDAR data to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) which is part of the US Department of Agriculture. They’re using it for dam breach analysis,” said Brush. “Kentucky has 55 high-hazard dams with one of them—the Doe Run Lake Dam—being located in Kenton County.”
According to Brush, NRCS is using the LiDAR data to analyze which properties and homes would be impacted if the dam gave way.
“We also gave LiDAR data to Northern Kentucky University’s Geology Department,” she said. “They will be using it to map the colluvium of the Alexandria Geological Quadrangle east of the Licking River.”
Colluvium is a geological term that describes loose rock and soil at the base of a cliff or steep slope.
The University of Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences has requested the data. Its personnel plan to use it to pursue a project in Kenton or Campbell County that will look for areas of high erosion where grassed waterways could be of benefit.
Brush suggests that the invitation by KAPS was an opening to new bridges between the GIS community and Kentucky’s land surveyors. She says the presentation on the new LiDAR technology helped land surveyors see that GIS professionals can be key allies in the work that surveyors are hired to pursue. She paid tribute to Dan Farrell, a surveyor with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, who assisted NKAPC staff with their presentation.
“Dan came to us recently for LiDAR data,” she said. “He wanted to check it out and see what it was about. After he used it, he was able to give testimonial support to its accuracy. That support helped lend credibility to our assertions.”
Steve Lilly, PLS, NKAPC’s land surveying analyst, attended the conference as a member of the surveyors’ association. As part of the NKAPC staff, Lilly works with LiDAR data on a regular basis.
Lilly said a number of his surveying colleagues who attended conference approached him afterward to express what an “eye-opening experience” the LiDAR presentation had been.
“Now that they’ve seen how accurate LiDAR products are, I hope that professional surveyors will begin using it to increase their productivity,” he concluded.