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LiDAR offers many benefits for Southland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The benefits of investment in LiDAR (light detection and ranging) modelling for Southland will be substantial, as the region plans for the future particularly for the challenges of climate change.

Southland is one of eight regions who have secured a portion of $14 million funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for LiDAR.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) refers to an airborne remote sensing method that uses pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the earth, generating a precise, three-dimensional layer of the earth’s surface and features.

High quality information is an important foundation for decision-making and LiDAR provides critical data that can be used to map and model changes to the environment.

Benefits for councils include having better access to information that will improve modelling for things like stop bank capacity, coastal erosion, tsunami evacuation zones and landslide hazards. For territorial authorities, the information will assist with planning for new infrastructure like roads as well as maintenance and renewal programmes for existing infrastructure such as water pipes and bridges.

Environment Southland director of policy, planning and regulatory services Vin Smith says as well as having its uses for the local councils, the data collected during the LiDAR project will be very helpful for individuals and businesses making decisions about residential and commercial development, renewable energy generation and managing things like on-farm nutrients and precision forestry spraying.

"We know that the LiDAR project will provide excellent data that can be used in a multitude of ways. This project is an exciting step for Southland and another opportunity for our councils to work together to benefit our region."

The funding is dependent on Environment Southland, Invercargill City Council, Gore District Council and Southland District Council contributing the remaining local share, although details of the costs cannot be released until a national tender process is complete.

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