Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Airborne LiDAR of Meteor Crater and the Surrounding Landscape

In March 2010, prompted by a proposal by Marisa Palucis of the University of California Berkeley, the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) obtained aerial LiDAR data of Meteor Crater. The survey was conducted with an Optech GEMINI Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper mounted on a twin-engine Piper PA-31.  The crater rim, walls, and interior were surveyed with a point density of 5 pts/m2, while the surrounding terrain was surveyed with a point density of 8 pts/m2, at a flight altitude of 600 m.  The total area surveyed is 34.4 km2 and the total mapping time was 4.16 hours. Additional details are available in the NCALM Mapping Project Report.


These data were collected by Marisa Palucis through the NSF-sponsored National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM).

Examples of Data Products
Crater Slope Map Crater Slope Map

Crater Topography Map

Crater Topography Map

Files for Download

The datasets below were collected from the NSF Open Topography Facility website (

Point Cloud Data

The Point Cloud dataset contains X,Y, Z data values for each of the 148,006,004 LiDAR data points acquired within a 5 km x 5 km region centered in Barringer Meteorite Crater. The data points were collected at a density of 8 pts/m2 for the crater rim and walls and at 4 pts/m2 for the surrounding area. The Point Cloud dataset was saved in LAS and LAZ formats.

Point Cloud dat - LAS Format

Point Cloud Data – LAS Format

The LAS file format is a public file format for the interchange of LiDAR data between vendors and customers. This binary format provides smaller datasets that are easier to transfer and read and maintains information specific to the LIDAR nature of the data. The LAS format allows for the inclusion of metadata such as data acquisition details and georeferencing information. For more information on the LAS format see

LAZ icon

Point Cloud Data – LAZ Format

The LAZ format is a compressed version of the LAS format that employs a lossless compression algorithm to produce LiDAR datasets that are a fraction of the size of the original LAS files. The LAZ format also allows for the inclusion of metadata such as data acquisition details and georeferencing information.

Gridded Data

The Gridded datasets contain values from the Point Cloud data that have been gridded for a 5 km x 5 km collection area centered on Barringer Meterorite Crater. The gridded datasets were sampled at 1 meter resolution and saved in GeoTiff format.

DEM Data

Digital Elevation Map

This DEM dataset was generated from the Point Cloud Data that was gridded at 1 meter resolution using the inverse distance weighted (idw) mean elevation of the data points that fell in each grid cell.

DEM Data – GeoTiff Format (95 MB)

Hillshade Data

Hillshade Map

This dataset was derived from the DEM dataset by applying a shade relief algorithm. The Sun is located at 345 degrees (NW) and is 45 degrees above the horizon.

Hillshade Data – GeoTiff Format (24 MB)

Slope Data

Slope Map

This dataset contains local slope values derived from the DEM dataset. Values are in degrees.

Slope Data – GeoTiff Format (95 MB)


Guidebook to the Geology of Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona

Last updated
October 10, 2012