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Teledyne Optech Titan lidar enables discovery of extended Mayan ruins in Guatemala

By [email protected] - 21st March 2018 - 08:23

Teledyne Optech’s Titan sensor was used by the University of Houston’s National Centre for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) to reveal extensive Mayan ruins in Guatemala. Lidar technology was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown structures, including raised highways, and complex irrigation and terracing systems. After the collapse of the Mayan civilization, their cities and monuments were quickly covered by thick rainforest, hiding the ancient civilization from airborne observation and making it very difficult to survey on foot. Flying high above the rainforest, Titan’s lasers penetrated the canopy to collect almost a million data points per second from the forest floor, giving archaeologists a “bare earth” view of the structures underneath. Having rapidly covered 2,100 km2, Titan’s data revealed massive amounts of ruins hidden below the forest, showing that their urban centres were significantly larger than archaeologists had previously thought.