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Discussion: LiDAR data in Europe

in: Orienteering; General

Jun 18, 2023 5:22 PM # 
I'm in Czech Republic and I'd like to make some maps of areas near me, but I can't seem to find anywhere I can download LiDAR data from (in the USA I always used USGS TNM Download). Does anyone know where (or how) I can find a site like this?
Jun 19, 2023 3:49 AM # 
I usually start by searching something like Czech lidar download. Obviously searching in the Czech language is going to be best. I see there are Czech and EU geoportals. It’s really common for geoportals to have only processed files, like DSMs and DTMs or contour files, and those are usually not suitable for orienteering mapping. Find contact emails and ask if point cloud data in LAS or LAZ format are available.

I’ve had good luck in the USA contacting state and local GIS offices and asking them if lidar is available. I’ve had to pay a nominal charge for it. I once sent a $60 1TB external SSD to a local GIS office so they could give me data. I’ve also gotten the State of Kentucky to release their lidar for free download because of the Kentucky Open Records Act (similar to the USA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)).

Make the argument that the processed data is not enough. Scientists and Engineers and Orienteers need the actual point cloud data. They should make it available for download.

I found this on Twitter: Czech republic has accessible nationwide raster DEM based on LIDAR data with 0.18/0.3 m precision for whole country. It is not open dataset but fully accessible over WMS with license restrictions.

That was from this twitter user:

I really like the smoothness of Karttapullautin contours, and I’ve used raster DEMs essentially as point cloud inputs to KP, with decent results (but obviously no vegetation outputs).

Good luck!
Jun 19, 2023 8:36 AM # 
A Czech Facebook friend tells me that is indeed the place to look.
But I seem to remember her telling me some time ago that the Czech OF has a map of the country on their website that shows all the areas of the country that already have orienteering maps and which club owns each map.
You may find the area you are interested in has already been mapped.
I sent you an e-mail with a little more information. You should look up that guy if you need further help or advice. There is nothing he doesn't know about orienteering maps in that country.
Jun 19, 2023 10:29 AM # 
If all you can get is DSM and DTM downloads then those files can be processed by QGIS into contours and "hillshade" jpegs for use as templates in OCAD or OOMapper.

If you can't find any appropriate LIDAR then a usable second choice is the Open Street Map (OSM) method. This isn't as detailed as LIDAR but it can be useful where LIDAR is difficult to find.

Obtain an OSM editing account, find your area of interest and improve the OSM as much as you can. Once your input has been processed by OSM export your area as an .osm file and import that into OOMapper or OCAD as your base map. Convert the OSM symbols to standard O symbols. Either Copernicus or STRM satellite derived contours can be added via David Dixon's version of the Open Orienteering Map at . This will produce a geolocated pdf for use as a template, but the line features on that pdf can be converted into an editable dxf format by importing the pdf into Inkscape and saving as .dxf.

The Open Orienteering Map view can be added to the OSM derived base map as a template. If you can find DSM or DTM LIDAR than that can be processed via QGIS and also added as a template; the DTM contours will be more accurate than the satellite contours. Any aerial photographs you can find will make useful templates. If there are a lot of trees they will still need an extensive foot survey to check vegetation densities.

Good luck.

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