One of those light bulbs appeared over the top of my head. This is like a microcosm of what’s happening globally with the climate crisis and dramatic earth system changes. We have a limited time to record the Earth as it exists now for future generations. I realized we could use LIDAR to create a permanent digital record of what the Earth’s land surface looks like today to preserve it for future generations.
Most of the data seafloor bathymetry data — it’s from inversion from gravity. They measure gravity, rather ingeniously, using satellite altimetry and looking at the slope of the sea water’s surface. Imagine a flat chunk of ocean with a perfectly flat sea bottom. If you stick a sea mountain on the bottom, gravity pulls the water a little closer to it, and there’ll be a little hill of water sitting over that sea mountain.