River was: 34,131,100 points

The U.S. Geological Survey recently posted a LIDAR fly-through of what the Lower Elwha River looked like as of September 2011.  The composite of 97 on-the-ground LIDAR scans were made less than a week before the start of dismantling the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams upstream.  The 34,131,100 georeferenced points of light will serve as a benchmark for how the river will be morphologically altered by an advancing delta of up to 20 million cubic yards of stored sediment traveling through it.  “Cobble bars, gravel beds, bluffs, riverside vegetation, and [hu]manmade features are all visible in the data…each feature can be queried for size, geographic position, and precise elevation.”

The spatial arrangement of these particles – digital counterparts to silty, rocky, wooden and leafy things – will then be compared to future arrangements, or what will become of what is now in process:

[image courtesy of the Seattle Times]

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