The US space agency, NASA, is developing the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar device to map forests on Earth in 3D and increase understanding of their role in the carbon cycle. The instrument will be the first to systematically probe the depths of the forests from space.
“GEDI Lidar will have a tremendous impact on our ability to monitor forest degradation, adding to the critical data needed to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Patrick O’Shea, chief research officer at the University of Maryland.
It is a laser-based system that can measure the distance from the space-based instrument to Earth’s surface with enough accuracy to detect subtle variations, including the tops of trees, the ground, and the vertical distribution of above ground bio-mass in forests. The instrument will be built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a NASA release said.