Shoreline Mapping Using LIDAR Red-channel Waveforms


The determination of the shoreline is the basis for defining boundaries between private, state, and federal ownership and jurisdictions, including the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone. Though the use of airborne lidar bathymetry (ALB) is not new, there is still a need for more reliable results using ALB in defining the shorelines. Previous algorithms for defining the shoreline (land-water determination) have used; (1) the presence of a saturated peak in the infrared-channel waveforms, or (2) a ratio between the green-channel, red- channel and infrared-channel waveforms. Research and development for both algorithms were applied to the older SHOALS-400 lidar that varies in dynamic range and waveform record length from the current SHOALS- 1000/3000 lidars. Observations of the red-channel waveforms show a strong dependence between the waveform and the presence of water. Different waveform characteristics are found from water and land returns (bare earth and vegetation coverage). We present here an algorithm for distinguishing land or water using the lidar red-channel waveforms. The data for this study are from (1) the 2000-2001 USGS surveys in Lake Michigan and Lake Tahoe, CA using the SHOALS-400 lidar system and (2) the NOAA survey in the Isles of Shoals, NH-ME using the SHOALS-1000. The algorithm shows good preliminary results both for the older and the current SHOALS systems. Aerial photogrammetry was used as reference data to support the findings.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date



87, Issue 52

Journal Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)


Fall Meeting, Supplement

Conference Date

Dec 11 - Dec 15, 2006

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding