LiDAR is a remote-sensing technology that uses laser pulses to measure surfaces and objects in three dimensions. Millions of data points are collected from a sensor that can be mounted in a variety of aircraft and ground-based mobile platforms.

LiDAR is the predominant method for county-wide topographic mapping and elevation modeling in Missouri. The technology has changed the way elevation data is acquired and processed, and has made topographic data more accurate and affordable.


Available LiDAR imagery for Missouri

LiDAR data for Missouri is a blend of data collected for specific projects, and data collected by federal programs (USGS, NRCS, FEMA, USCAE).  Specific project data is hosted by the University of Missouri and Washington University.  

Missouri’s LiDAR is blend of QL1, QL2 and QL3. These quality levels (QL) help users assess the usability of each level for a particular purpose.  Levels identify both accuracy and spacing between the points, with QL1 being the highest level.  The majority of the LiDAR data for Missouri is at QL2. 




Map of LiDAR data availability from Missouri Spatial Data Information Service (MSDIS)
LiDAR availability from MSDIS – December 2022

To learn more, open the Missouri Map and turn on the layer “LiDAR – Project Level Metadata”. This give you the ability to download specifics for each of the holdings.

This is no state-wide sponsored LiDAR program in Missouri. Missouri relies on federally sponsored programs for most LiDAR data. Some of the data is available at MSDIS, others remain in the federal clearinghouse.

Map – LiDAR holdings available at the National Map.

To explore the federal holdings of LiDAR data, visit the USGS LiDAR Explorer Map.

There are multiple LiDAR collections currently underway. The processing time between data collection and the availability for download is much longer than an aerial imagery project – measured in years, rather than month.

By the time all data collection that’s underway or planned for 2023 and 2024 is finally complete, Missouri will have complete QL2 coverage. Check back on this site, and the Missouri Map and LiDAR Explorer from USGS for updates.