Aerial Photography, Remote Sensing, Lidar

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is the latest technology for viewing land from above.  It has many uses, but one of the most interesting for tree farmers is its ability to see the landform beneath a stand of trees.  In April 2017, the Washington DNR, Division of Geology and Earth Resources, announced that Lidar coverage of a large portion of the state is available for viewing at their Geology Portal, with a smaller (but increasing) portion available for downloading at their Lidar Portal.  In addition to Bare Earth Lidar, which shows the ground without any vegetation or structure, Top Surface Lidar shows the first object that the Lidar hits, so shows vegetation and structure.  For more information on how to find and use this, read this announcement from them.

Another source of information on public domain high resolution Lidar is the Puget Sound Consortium. 

Google Earth Pro is now available free. It allows for zooming by parcel number, measuring acres, and saving high resolution files.  The license key for Google Earth Pro free is GEPFREE.

Google Maps provides satellite photos online, and if you install GoogleEarth on your computer, you can see them in 3D.  However, the maps are not dated and often are several years old.

Bing Maps also provides photos and bird's eye views online.  Like Google maps, they can be several years old and are not dated.

The American Tree Farm System hosts online webinars that are available free, at any time, for your use.  The webinar titled Leveraging the power of Google Earth is 1-1/2 hours long and may provide some useful information on this valuable mapping tool.