The Christian Science Monitor

A laser revolution: How lidar is changing the way we see the world

Impatience led Chris Fisher to the discovery of a lifetime.

Like most archaeologists, he spent his days in the field plodding along on foot, perhaps hacking through jungles with teams of grad students and other scientists looking for pieces of ceramics or signs of ancient structures, mapping what they found as they went.

“There’s got to be a better way,” Dr. Fisher, an archaeologist at Colorado State University, recalls venting to a colleague, frustrated that in one year he could cover only a fraction of a square mile while surveying the ruins of Angamuco in west-central Mexico.

“There might be,” his colleague replied, “Have you heard of this thing called ‘lidar’?”

A new way to 'see'A driving force

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