Geographic information systems (GIS) are used in a variety of fields today and as technology improves and expands so do the benefits of GIS. Technology advances such as light detection and ranging known as lidar is a relatively new romote-sensing technology could not have developed at a better time than 2005 to help in the response aid to hurricane Katrina. When it comes to hurricane response and recovery activities, geospatial data is critical. Lidar can give geospatial data that collects very precise measurements of land surface elevation which in a flood case can be used to gather data on the depth and extent of the flood. Thanks to data recently put into the National Elevation Dataset (NED) estimates of flood volume were used to project the time it would take to remove the water from the city.
Map of New Orleans after flood, Red represents highest elevation levels, Mississippi River is shown to have higher elevation than land in the center of the city.
The fact that lidar data was available at the time played a critical role in the initial response efforts in the first few days of the flooding. The application of lidar demonstrated the usefulness of (GIS) when information is needed quickly. For future flooding lidar can be used for useful planning in the reconstruction of infrastructure of the city to reduce the impacts of future flooding.