New data on Hong Kong's geography

Local | Cissy So 8 Oct 2019

The University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Science has received a large donation of remote "sensing data" for Hong Kong worth an estimated value of HK$9.3 million.

Created by airborne and spaceborne platforms such as planes or satellites, sensing data helps to study the surface of the Earth.

The donated data includes LiDAR topographic data and high-resolution aerial photography of the SAR territories.

LiDAR, which stands for "light detection and ranging," is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges in variable distances to the Earth.

"LiDAR is an exceptional technology and allows for details to be captured of vegetation as well as the ground on which it sits," said Matthew Evans, Dean of Science and Ecology at the School of Biological Sciences.

"The resolution of the data allows the recreation of tree cover, tree height and the size of tree trunks which allow detail vegetation maps in addition to those of the surface," he said.

The data was acquired by the survey company DiMap, using an aircraft flying at low airspeed.

The result was the highest resolution information available for such a large portion of Hong Kong.

The donated data not only allows HKU geologists to map out the natural features of the region but also contributes to studies of coastal ecology and flood hazards.

Professor of the Department of Earth Sciences Zong Yongqiang said that because the LiDAR data provided accurate, high-resolution elevations of low-lying areas, it could be used in flood risk analysis, urban planning, coastal engineering works, and the natural hazard insurance industry.

Therefore, it is highly beneficial to Hong Kong as it is so reliant on land resources of low-lying coastlines, Zong said.

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