Geographic Information Services
Director: Geoff Almvig
Skagit County is a partner with the Washington Department of Natural Resources 2016 Lidar project. Most of the county was flown collecting high resolution Lidar data.
Skagit County LIDAR information page
What is Lidar?
Lidar stands for “Light Detection and Ranging” and is a method of using a laser system mounted in an airplane to measure the elevation of the surface of the ground and objects on the ground.
More info can be found here
To view and analyze Lidar data requires software designed to handle the large quantities of data associated with Lidar. Be sure you have the right software before you begin download the data.
Skagit Lidar History
Skagit County first started a LIDAR partnership with the USGS in 2005 when a contract was created to fly parts of Skagit County in 2006. At that time, LIDAR data was still in its early years of development and the data that was created from that flight had some accuracy issues. However, that was still the best elevation data available for most of Skagit County.
Interest in acquiring new Lidar data really took shape after the 2014 Oso Washington land slide which killed 43 people. After this tragedy, there were concerns that there may be other slide areas around the State that pose a safety threat. At the direction of the State Legislature, Washington Department of Natural resources (DNR) began looking for opportunities to collect improved Lidar data that the geology team could use to assess slide dangers among other projects. At the same time, the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Map Program had a grant opportunity to collect elevation data nationwide and DNR quickly began working on leveraging in-kind money to be able to qualify for the USGS program.
The original Lidar plan did not include coverage of the floodplain of Skagit County, so between the County and the Tribal Research Cooperative (SRSC) money was raised to fill in the gaps. Skagit County contributed $60,000 and SRSC contributed $100,000. The total cost of the project was around $3 million dollars. The data captured within Skagit County would have cost almost $1 million dollars. The imagery was flown in 2016 and early 2017. The northwest is a difficult place to fly Lidar because you need leaves off the trees, no rain or wind, and no snow cover. This project originally was going to take a few months and ended up taking over a year in order to find the right conditions over the entire region.