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New Imaging Gives Close-up Look at Gas Pipeline Corridors


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During late spring 2011, two small airplanes flew dozens of sorties over key transportation corridors bisecting Alaska. Seated in the back of each plane was a technician, surely with an iron-lined stomach and extraordinary sense of equilibrium, enduring the pitching, rolling and yawing while the pilot maintained a nearly constant altitude above terrain that is anything but constant. Like bombardiers dropping payloads on air-raid targets, the technicians released millions of laser pulses from the planes' bellies, pelting the ground and capturing the pulses' echoes. The entire mission involved a relatively new technology called lidar. It was part of a multiagency effort to understand, map and put into the public realm the precise landscape a North Slope natural gas pipeline would cross. The data gathered trillions of bytes of data is now getting posted on a state of Alaska website.And state geologists and geophysicists who commissioned the lidar research their first foray into the technology are now getting an extraordinary look at the Earth's surface in a swath of Alaska never before detailed in such sharp relief.

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Author Chad Rowan
Last Updated March 23, 2015, 20:20 (EST)
Created January 7, 2013, 11:27 (EST)
Citation Chad Rowan, New Imaging Gives Close-up Look at Gas Pipeline Corridors, 2013-01-07,
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