What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, which is a method of aerial survey through which the landscape can be examined in minute detail. A light aircraft equipped with a laser scanner flies over the survey area in swathes, taking millions of measurements to create an accurate 3D model of the ground surface. Vegetation can be filtered out so that the resulting imagery shows a true representation of the ground surface. This means that archaeological sites that might not be easily visible with the naked eye, such as those in wooded areas or under heather and bracken, for example, can be identified. 

The interpretation of aerial imagery has previously been considered a specialist skill and limited to areas where conditions are suitable for archaeology to be visible. LiDAR, however, places the opportunity to investigate archaeological landscapes in the hands of participants in the project, providing an exciting opportunity for volunteers to be trained in the use of new, innovative and cutting-edge technology in one of the first community projects of its kind in the Scottish Borders.