Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca may have been found with airborne LiDAR

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
University of Houston
Summary:
Archaeologists have used airborne laser mapping to unveil archaeological ruins in a Honduran rainforest. An initial analysis of the LiDAR survey has identified ruins that could be those of Ciudad Blanca or other long-hidden sites.

A field team from the University of Houston and the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) has mapped a remote region of Honduras that may contain the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca.
Credit: DAR

A field team from the University of Houston and the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) has mapped a remote region of Honduras that may contain the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca.

The results, recently announced by Honduras President Porfirio Lobo, mark the successful completion of the first light detection and ranging (LiDAR) survey of that country's Mosquitia region, one of the world's least-explored virgin rainforests.

An initial analysis of the LiDAR survey has identified ruins that could be those of Ciudad Blanca or other long-hidden sites. The information provides archaeologists with the precise locations of features within fractions of meters for further study.

UH serves as the operational center for NCALM, a collaborative program between UH and the University of California at Berkeley. NCALM focuses on the collection of research quality, airborne LiDAR data for NSF principal investigators, the advancement of airborne LiDAR technology and applications and the education of students to fill positions in academic, government and commercial organizations requiring knowledge of airborne LiDAR.

The NCALM Operational Center's experience in completing more than 150 projects across the nation was critical to the successful completion of the Honduras mapping project, which was initiated by UTL Scientific LLC., a group formed by principals of the Honduran LiDAR survey project.

UTL project leader Steve Elkins has been fascinated with the Mosquitia rainforest since his first visit there nearly 20 years ago, but he has been frustrated by the inability of satellite imagery to see under the extremely thick canopy. He contacted researchers at UH, NCALM and Geosensing Systems Engineering (GSE) Graduate Research Program to overcome this obstacle.

UH professors Ramesh L. Shrestha and William E. Carter have been working with refining and applying airborne LiDAR to unveil the surface of Earth, primarily for earth scientists researching surface processes, for more than a decade.

In 2009, the UH researchers and a field team composed of Michael Sartori, Juan Fernandez‐Diaz and Abhinav Singhania successfully mapped the Caracol archaeological site in Belize using airborne LiDAR. Even though the site was covered with dense rainforest, the LiDAR data captured building ruins and agricultural terraces not discovered by archaeologists working on the ground for more than 25 years.

In the Honduras project, the UH team blanketed the area with as many 25 to 50 laser pulses per square meter -- a total of more than four billion laser shots. A number of areas were mapped and the images collected were reduced and filtered to remove the vegetation and provide "bare earth" digital elevation models in near real‐time in the field.

The digital elevation models were then used to produce geodetic images of the terrain's surface below the rainforest, and those images were searched by eye to study geomorphological features as well as potential archaeological ruins.

The project has demonstrated the power of airborne laser mapping to locate archaeological ruins in regions covered with thick forest, and it appears that the method will be used widely in the years ahead.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Houston. "Legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca may have been found with airborne LiDAR." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606092719.htm>.
University of Houston. (2012, June 6). Legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca may have been found with airborne LiDAR. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606092719.htm
University of Houston. "Legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca may have been found with airborne LiDAR." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606092719.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins