Deriving Shorelines from Lidar
State and local authorities need accurate shoreline data to make informed decisions. A chief benefit of using lidar data is the ability to derive a true datum-based shoreline—one that is tied to a specific tidal datum elevation, such as mean high water. This quick, online tutorial shows users how to use NOAA’s VDatum tool to convert lidar data to a tidal datum and then extract a shoreline contour using ArcGIS. Shoreline extraction from proxy sources such as the vegetation line, dune toe, and high-water line requires visual interpretation in the field or from imagery, making the process from these sources time-consuming and subject to human interpretation. Using lidar to derive shoreline data is more efficient.