The Environment Agency has recently announced that Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data will be made available for free for the first time as part of the Open Data strategy. The Environment Agency has been collecting LiDAR data for the last 17 years and have announced from September 2015 all the Environment Agency LiDAR data will become Open Data and everyone (commercial and non-commercial) will be able to use it free of charge and restriction. The catalogue of aerial LiDAR data covers nearly 3 quarters of England, focusing on floodplains, coastal and urban areas…exactly the areas which hydrodynamic and urban drainage modellers, as well as Asset Managers, are interested in! The Open Data strategy has also seen the release of some Ordnance Survey maps.
The available data includes Tiled LiDAR imagery as well as 0.25m, 0.5m, 1m and 2m composites and can be downloaded from the following website (https://www.geomatics-group.co.uk/GeoCMS/Order.aspx). Both Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM) data is available. The data is available in ASCII grid format which can be directly imported into Infoworks ICM, Infoworks CS, Infoworks RS as well as Infonet. Once within the software it can be used for visual purposes, interrogating data (ground levels etc…),for the creation of meshes for 2-Dimensional Modelling or for results analysis and mapping. Once meshed additional detail can be added through the use of polygons, breaklines, mesh zones and mesh level zones to build up a true representation of the underlying surface.
The open release of the LiDAR data will provide modellers and asset managers a great resource to further their knowledge and understanding of fluvial, coastal and urban drainage systems and the flood risk that may occur in these domains. This together with the use of ICM RiskMaster will also allow users to take this enhanced understanding and quantify the potential damage to enable informed decision making in mitigating these potential risks. The age of open data brings exciting possibilities and Innovyze software is at the heart of this.