Did you know that Base Maps are available in ArcMap 10.1 and 10.2? You can use this feature to display a backdrop image or road map, providing context for LIDAR data processing (see Figure 1). This is a coal pile area at the Tennessee Valley Authorities’ (TVA) Widows Creek fossil fuel generation facility near Stevenson, Alabama on the Tennessee River.
The first step in using context data is to ensure that coordinate reference systems (CRS) are properly established for the table of content data. It is often the case that LAS files are not properly geocoded and thus will show a CRS of “unknown.” The easiest way to address this is to bring up a blank map and set the top level layer’s CRS in the table of contents to the CRS of the LIDAR data. Next import the LIDAR.