Engineering researchers are dissecting troves of data about the performance of structures hit by the Japanese tsunami of March 11. One of their sharpest tools is light imaging and ranging scan data. It captures distortion in exquisite detail.“We started talking about this [LiDAR] right after the earthquake,” says Michael Olsen, a professor of geomatics at Oregon State University.Olsen is the terrestrial LiDAR expert on a team convened by the American Society of Civil Engineers to analyze the tsunami's loads and the performance of structures and coastal engineering.The team, coordinating with Japan's Building Research Institute, has sent two missions into the
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