Lidar (Light Detection and ranging) is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses-combined with other data recorded by the airborne system-generated precise, three dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

In survey, LIDAR is applied as a method to produce or make digital representations of the Earth and high-resolution maps, with applications in geodesy and geomatics. This is achieved by measuring distance to a target by illuminating that target with a pulsed laser light, and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can be used to make digital representations of the target.