USGS New Mexico Rio San Jose FEMA R6 LiDAR

FEMA and USGS | New Mexico

Flooding is one of the most common and costly disasters, with risk that changes over time due to factors like new development or changing weather patterns. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) is working with federal, state, tribal, and local partners across the nation to identify and reduce flood risk through its Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) program.

Risk MAP provides high quality flood maps and information to better assess the flooding risk and support for planning and outreach to help communities reduce or mitigate flood risk. Each Risk MAP flood risk project is tailored to the needs of each community and involves different solutions, products, and services.

Merrick provided aerial LiDAR collection and processing during the course of fall/winter, with surveys covering four areas of interest (AOIs) in New Mexico. The AOIs—Rio San Jose, Laguna, Zia, and Alamo Ranch—cover approximately 3,978 square feet. Merrick also provided control surveys and quality control survey check points, along with limited geodatabase delivery and quality control.

Varied elevation changes throughout the area made data collection tricky. Typically, LiDAR providers would have to change collection altitudes and parameters to maintain data continuity for different elevations. Merrick’s unique sensor and software approach made a single altitude flight possible, mitigating the potential data discrepancies of other approaches. This approach allowed a scan rate of more than 1 MHZ per second and multiple pulses from higher altitudes than can be provided by other sensors. By collecting accurate information with just a single flight, Merrick saved costs for FEMA.

In addition, Merrick’s enhanced knowledge of the Southwestern United States helped mitigate risk in this challenging region.


Geospatial; LiDAR;
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