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Merrick Utilizes LiDAR in Large Sinkhole Plain Print E-mail
Written by Merrick   
Thursday, 07 March 2013

Improved Elevation Data & Detailed Inventory in the Illinois Sinkhole Plain

March 7, 2013 – Merrick & Company (www.merrick.com) collected and processed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data for the Illinois Sinkhole Plain within Monroe, Randolph, and St. Clair Counties in East St. Louis, IL. The data collection effort was critical in producing accurate, realistic terrain for the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS). It provided an enhanced level of landscape feature detail at actual locations and exposed physical attributes used to generate detailed information that ISGS and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) needed in order to fulfill specific informational/governmental requirements.

The region contains the highest concentration of karst features within the state. It is estimated the Sinkhole Plain contains approximately 10,000 sinkhole features, making them a distinctive landscape feature within the region. Because sinkholes serve as a direct conduit to the underlying bedrock aquifer in the region, there is a high potential for groundwater contamination within the Sinkhole Plain. Despite the potential as a health and safety hazard, no exhaustive inventory of sinkholes within the Sinkhole Plain had been conducted to determine their precise numbers and locations. The LiDAR technology findings proved invaluable in fulfilling the current needs of ISGS and also met the latest specifications for the USGS. The deliverables were used to increase the functionality and effectiveness of terrain models and were able to replace contour data that was nearly 45 years old. 

More information about Merrick & Company can be found at Merrick GeoSpatial Services.

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