The History of Laser Bathymetry

  • Sebastian Sizgoric
  • John Banic
  • Paul LaRocque


This paper gives a coarse-grained historical overview of activities in airborne Lidar hydrography (ALH), starting with the general operating principles of the technique, then followed by a synopsis of the principal, worldwide ALH efforts over the past two and a half decades. This will lead to a discussion of the design trade-offs and performance of the SHOALS system, Optech Inc’s recently concluded ALH program for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Finally, a comparison is given of the current ALH operational capabilities (depth, area coverage, accuracy, reliability, cost-effectiveness) to the currently used acoustic methods.


Army Corps System Block Diagram Aircraft Position Shoal Design International Hydrographic Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ABBOT, R.H., “WRELADS II Trials”, Proceedings Laser Hydrography Symposium, Australian Defence Research Centre, Salisbury, South Australia, p. 188 (1980).Google Scholar
  2. AVCO EVERETT RESEARCH LABORATORY, “Airborne Océanographie Lidar System Final Report”, NASA Contract No. NAS6–2653 (1975).Google Scholar
  3. BANIC, J., SIZGORIC, S., AND O’NEIL, R., “Scanning Lidar Bathymeter for Water Depth Measurement”, Proceedings of SPIE Conference on Laser Technology and Applications, Quebec City, Quebec, SPIE Vol. 663, pl87 (1986).Google Scholar
  4. BANIC, J., SIZGORIC, S. AND LILLYCROP, W.J., “Second-Generation Airborne Lidar System for Hydrographie Application”, Oceanology International 90 Conference, Brighton, U.K. (1990).Google Scholar
  5. COMPTON, J.S. AND HUDSON, M.A., “New Charting Technology in Australia: The Laser Airborne Depth Sounder”, International Hydrographie Review, Monaco, p. 145 (1988).Google Scholar
  6. CUNNINGHAM, L.L., “Test Report on Pulsed Light Airborne Depth Sounder (PLADS)”, Naval Océanographie Office Technical Note 6620–102–72, U.S. Navy (1972).Google Scholar
  7. CLEGG, J.E. AND PENNY, M.F., “Depth Sounding from the Air by Laser Beam”, Journal of Navigation 31, p. 52 (1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ENABNIT, D.B., GOODMAN, L.R., YOUNG, G.K., AND SHAUGHNESSY, W.J., “The Cost Effectiveness of Airborne Laser Hydrography”, NOA A Technical Memorandum NOS 26 (1978).Google Scholar
  9. GOLASZEWSKI, R. AND BAROL, D., “An Economic Analysis of the Optech Helicopter Lidar Bathymeter System”, Gellman Research Associates Inc. Report (1989).Google Scholar
  10. HARRIS, M.M., HICKMAN, G.D. AND BOOKER, R., “Development of the Airborne Bathymétrie Survey System”, Proceedings of the Second Biennial National Ocean Service International Hydrographie Conference, Norfolk, Virginia, p.50 (1986).Google Scholar
  11. HICKMAN, G.D., AND HOGG, J.E., “Application of An Airborne Pulsed Laser for Near-Shore Bathymétrie Measurements”, Remote Sensing of Environment 1, p.47 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. HOUCK, M.W., “The Hydrographie Airborne Laser Sounder (HALS) Development Program”, Proceedings Laser Hydrography Symposium, Australian Defence Research Centre, Salisbury, South Australia, p.35 (1980).Google Scholar
  13. KIM, H.H., AND RYAN, P., Proceedings of “The Use of Lasers for Hydrographie Studies”, NASA Wallops Station, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Wallops Island, Va. (1974).Google Scholar
  14. OTT, L.M., “Underwater Ranging Measurements Using Blue-Green Laser”, NAVAIRDEVCEN Report No. NADC-AE-6519, Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, Pa., 1965 (Confidential).Google Scholar
  15. RYAN, J.S., and O’NEIL, R., “Field Trials of an Airborne Lidar Bathymeter”, Proceedings of the 19’th Annual Canadian Hydrographie Conference, March 20, 1980, Halifax, Nova Scotia, J. Canadian Hydrographers Assoc. (1980).Google Scholar
  16. SORENSON, G.P., HONEY, R.C., and PAYNE, J.R., “Analysis of the Use of Airborne Laser Radar for Submarine Detection and Ranging”, SRI Report No. 5583, Stanford Research Institute, 1966 (Confidential).Google Scholar
  17. STEINVALL, O., KLEVEBRANT, H. LEXANDER, J., and WIDEN, A., “Laser Depth Sounding in the Baltic Sea”, Applied Optics 20, p. 3284 (1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Sizgoric
    • 1
  • John Banic
    • 1
  • Paul LaRocque
    • 1
  1. 1.Optech Inc.TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations