A lidar image of the Borrego Fault in Baja California, Mexico, courtesy of the University of California, Davis

Eva Botkin-Kowacki’s excellent big-picture story on lidar is out today in the Christian Science Monitor. In her reporting, she came across “The Laser That’s Changing the World” and, from there, me.

It’s an interesting thing, as a journalist, to be interviewed — particularly on a topic that, as of two years ago, I had very little idea about. Usually, we ask the questions. My key message, not news to Eva, was that lidar is about a lot more than lasers. It’s about how they’re used in all sorts of ways, from finding lost Maya cities to helping the Navy plan for amphibious assaults to measuring ice caps and global winds to guiding self-driving cars.

She recognized this independently and put together a great overview that covers a ton of ground in remarkably few words (a five-minute read, the Christian Science Monitor website estimates). Not easy to do, as the guy who wrote 90,000+ words on the topic can fairly say.