Satellite images let us see Earth from above. But a technology closer to Earth can give us a much more detailed look.
Aerial “light detection and ranging,” also known as lidar (rhymes with eye-dar), works by sending laser pulses from a plane, helicopter, or drone. The device then receives information back about the surfaces below.
In the past, the highest resolution for lidar was about 40 points per square yard. But a team of researchers at New York University has increased the resolution to 280 points per square yard, resulting in a view from above—especially in urban areas—that’s far more detailed than ever before and true to cracks, curbs, and building facades.