Site Planning Using Publicly Available Lidar Elevation Data

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Tule Lake Unit of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Cultural Resources Program, Tulelake, California

The Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, located near Newell, California, tells the story of one of the 10 War Relocation Authority Japanese American relocation and confinement sites. Six structures remain within the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark. Arguably the most infamous of these is the jail, a 39-by-71 foot reinforced concrete structure built by the inmates in 1944. The jail has been abandoned for decades and has suffered from neglect, pest infestation, and demolition attempts.  The NPS, in cooperation with the non-profit Tule Lake Committee, received funds from the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program to undertake a three-phase project to restore this important structure.  As part of the ongoing project, the jail was documented using terrestrial lidar scanning and photography.

The terrestrial lidar data of the jail structure are very detailed, but are not suited for the needs of site-scale elevation planning.  Publically available aerial lidar data acquired by the Bureau of Reclamation in 2010 were investigated as an additional source of elevation information.  The accuracy and density of the data were suitable for deriving 1-foot interval elevation contours, which were incorporated into the planning maps used to develop site-use alternatives. This project demonstrates the value of publishing lidar datasets for potential application by other organizations.

Ground Surface Model

Ground surface model and contours at the jail site.

Site Plan

Site Plan used to develop use alternatives.

Author Name
Jessica Middleton
Author Email