We often think of using LIDAR data either in simple operations for generating derived products, such as creating gridded elevation files, or for more esoteric operations, such as automatic extraction of building footprints. However, LIDAR data included as a standard layer in your ArcGIS® project (using LP360
for ArcGIS®, of course) can prove very useful, simply for dynamic visualization.
For example, I like to keep a layer of LIDAR data for helping to visualize terrain while looking at more familiar ortho imagery. Figure 1 shows a configuration for displaying dynamic contours over an ortho image base. To achieve this view, make sure the LIDAR data is above the image data in the Table of Contents (TOC). Then, set the LIDAR points display to Off (I bet you wondered why anyone would want points turned off!). This is the control pointed to by the left bubble in Figure 1. Then, turn contours on (right toolbar bubble) and adjust to the intervals and colors that are suitable for your visualization purposes. Note the clarity of the road crown in Figure 1. You can also clearly see the drainage in the field below the road.