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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From God’s Eye to Ground Level: Aerial LiDAR as an Avenue to a Volumetric Understanding of Urban Spaces

  • Author(s): O'Neill, Brittney
  • Laefer, Debra F
  • et al.

Recent advances in high resolution, aerial LiDAR data collection can facilitate a more thorough understanding of three dimensional (3D) urban space across a range of viewpoints from the God’s eye view to the ground level. Using an extremely high resolution aerial LiDAR dataset collected over a 1.5km2 area of central Dublin, Ireland as a case study, this work pursues new vertical and volumetric understandings of the controversial Spire of Dublin. Viewing this structure in a fully elaborated, 3D environment with the capacity to experience the space from a range of perspectives enables a clearer understanding of the monument’s relative proportion to the space of the built environment both in terms of verticality and volume. Arguably, this in turn provides insight into relationships of power, modernity, tradition, and enclosure that inform a richer understanding of the arguments of both supporters and detractors of this piece of modern, public sculpture. This essay concludes with a suggestion of potential future work in high-resolution, aerial LiDAR collection to aid in developing resources in urban studies more broadly.

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