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Shallow Water Laser Bathymetry: Accomplishments and Applications

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Journal Article

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile United States

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Airborne Laser Bathymetry ALB is a technique primarily aimed at augmenting nautical chart production and bathymetric mapping capability in relatively shallow coastal waters. The potential of water-penetrating airborne laser radar to provide cost effective characterization of underwater topography to depths as great as 50 meters, depending on water clarity, has triggered a number of research and development efforts worldwide over the past three decades. Currently ongoing and aimed at providing operational ALB tools, are the Optech Incorporated SHOALS program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Saab InstrumentsOptech Inc. Hawk Eye program for both the Swedish Navy and the Swedish Hydrographic Department, and the Royal Australian Navys LADS program. The motivation to develop ALB technique to operational status is primarily two-fold the speeding up of the surveying tasks that exist under the current mandate of the various hydrographic agencies, and the anticipated, significant savings in the cost-per-unit-area-surveyed.

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