Jim Yungel and Bill Krabill were instrumental in my grasping the enormous role the NASA Wallops Flight Facility team played in fostering core technologies of the airborne laser scanning business. Jim also had a couple of vintage photos to share. The Airborne Oceanographic Lidar lives on today as the Airborne Topographic Mapper.

  • From left, Jim Yungel, Bill Krabill and Earl Frederick in the NASA Wallops P-3 flying the Airborne Oceanographic Lidar in 1985. (Courtesy Jim Yungel)
  • Jim Yungel on an Airborne Oceanographic Lidar console in 1986. (courtesy Jim Yungel)
  • Bill Krabill at the console of his pioneering GPS system on the NASA P-3 in 1994. (courtesy Jim Yungel)


My visit to the Toronto area to visit Allan Carswell included a swing through Teledyne Optech, where Paul LaRocque showed me around in October 2017.

  • Allan Carswell works on one of his early lidars. (courtesy Teledyne Optech)
  • Teledyne Optech's Paul LaRocque with the first nautical chart made with a lidar. It now hangs in his office.
  • Paul LaRocque in one of several test areas in Optech's Toronto-area headquarters.
  • Paul LaRocque in one of several test areas in Optech's Toronto-area headquarters.
  • Paul LaRocque in one of several test areas in Optech's Toronto-area headquarters.


I didn’t make it to Antarctica in August 2017, except via Skype, but Xinzhao Chu shared a few photos.

  • University of Colorado professor and mesospheric lidar pioneer Xinzhao Chu, second from left, with one of several teams she's had in Antarctica over the years. (courtesy Xinzhao Chu)
  • Xinzhao Chu with iron Boltzmann and sodium lidars in New Zealand's Arrival Heights station near McMurdo in early 2018. (courtesy Xinzhao Chu)
  • Claire Miller and Zhengyu Hua, a.k.a. "Harry," via Skype in Xinzhao Chu's CIRES office in August 2017.
  • A view of Antarctica from atop New Zealand's Arrival Heights station. The new STAR sodium lidar (installed January 2018) is below the door on the left; the iron Boltzmann lidar uses the door on the right. (courtesy Xinzhao Chu)
  • Xinzhao Chu has been to Antarctica for mesospheric lidar work a dozen times and counting. (courtesy Xinzhao Chu)


Not far from Xinzhao Chu’s office at CIRES in Boulder, Matt Hayman of NCAR showed me around his and colleague Scott Spuler’s lab in July 2017.

  • NCAR scientist Matt Hayman with the GV-HSRL (Gulfstream V High Spectral Resolution Lidar) in his and Scott Spuler's Boulder lab.
  • The backside of the GV-HSRL give a sense of the complexity of Ed Eloranta's system.
  • A lidar porthole in the ceiling of Scott Spuler and Matt Hayman's NCAR lab.
  • Matt Hayman, on a stool, considered the system he and NCAR colleague Scott Spuler are building.
  • The hand of Hayman points to one of many components of a miniaturized WV-DIAL lidar he and colleagues are developing for improved storm forecasting.
  • Hardware miniaturized by telecom-industry market forces are central to making the NCAR water-vapor-detecting lidar work.