The use of laser technology in Saint Lucia shows extraordinary potential towards the island’s development. LiDar technology will soon become integral to Saint Lucia’s development. Geographic Information Officer with the Department of Physical Development and Urban Renewal, Suzanna Aurelien explains LiDar is used to collect data from the surface of the earth.
The data is collected via a specialized camera. “That specialized camera sends beams of light to the surface of the earth and then when this beam of light hits the earth, it sends what is called a reflection which is called a return back to the camera and for every return, the camera will record what it picked up,” Aurelien illustrates. “A tree, building, bare ground, power lines, water surfaces, even in the case of the sea, there is the bathometric part which will pick up the seabeds. So, coral reefs, sand, sea moss, sea grass, it will end the return and will tell the camera what it picks up.”
This is the first time the technology was used in the country’s history. Aurelien advocates the use of LiDar technology for any development planning in the future.
“Infrastructure for example could use this in maybe designing new routes to place highways. We have updated information on the power lines so LUCELEC is now able to see even more where all their power lines are located and they could see the proximity of vegetation, buildings to their power lines. When it comes to the Bathometric data which is the data of the coastline and the sea. There are many other projects for example the blue economy which are projects that actually look at how the sea influences the economy so there are many projects and many agencies that look at the sea because many livelihoods depend on the sea. So information about the sea, the coastline is very important to be used by agencies varying from fisheries to as much as tourism,” Aurelien says.
Staff of multiple stakeholders participated in a LiDar capacity building exercise. Stakeholders such as the police, the fire service, utility companies and government agencies including the central statistics office.