In the last few years laser scanning (also called LiDAR) became a very effective tool for high-resolution data acquisition of geomorphic surfaces. Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) is a straightforward and very precise tool for creating digital surface models (DSM) up to sub-meter resolution. However, DSMs contain the surface of man-made structures as well as the effect of the canopy cover, therefore their direct application in geomorphology needs some consideration. For example, creation of run-off models for hydrologic purposes is hampered by the man-made structures.
Likewise, for geomorphic analysis, instead of DSMs, digital terrain models (DTMs) are required, representing the geomorphic surface free from those man-made artifacts (e.g. bridges) that do not contribute to the run-off model. The accurate filtering of the vegetation is also an issue. The removal of these modifying factors requires special processing techniques.
Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is also increasingly applied for fast data capture of the surface, e.g., in detection and monitoring of mass movements and in other geomorphic studies requiring high accuracy and frequent repetition.
The application of both laser scanning technique results in data sets characterised by enormous data sizes, extremely high accuracy (up to cm-scale) and very high (typically sub-meter) resolution. These properties compensate for the efforts invested in the data processing, however it means new challenges for the geomorphic evaluation. The laser scanning-derived DTMs are suitable for analysis in flood-endangered regions, for natural hazard analyses like mass movements and are almost unbeatable in surface modelling of mountainous and karstic areas. They are also highly applicable in environmental change studies concerning the change in snow and ice coverage, soil creep, etc.
Contributions concerning processing techniques as well as geomorphic application examples are welcome. Case studies of problematic data sets, studies on applicability of laser scanning-derived DSMs and DTMs in various environments, like geomorphic application in urban areas, are also covered by the session.