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Woolpert LiDAR over Tonga informs new research

Woolpert LiDAR over Tonga informs new research

Aerial LiDAR captured by Woolpert Asia-Pacific over the Kingdom of Tonga has informed new research into the urbanisation of Pacific Island communities.  

Captured in 2011, Woolpert’s aerial survey mapping and geospatial insights were key in providing new evidence on urbanisation in Mu’ Tonga, revealing a new timeline much earlier than previously believed – approximately 700 years earlier.  

The Australian National University (ANU) research led by PhD scholar Phillip Parton recognises low-density urbanisation as key to understanding enduring social and economic change in the region. These include profound societal changes from the rise of social institutions, agglomeration effects, and the continuous settlement growth.

“We were able to combine high-tech mapping and archeological fieldwork to understand what was happening in Tongatapu,” Phillip said. “[The research] shows the contribution of the Pacific to urban science. We can see clues that Tongatapu’s influence spreads across the southwest Pacific Ocean between the 13th and 19th centuries.”    

The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory (Springer Nature Group), breathes new life into Woolpert’s geospatial data, with its transformative application uncovering prestate settlement growth in a pacific society.  

In more recent years, Woolpert collected topographic, bathymetric lidar data and imagery of Tonga, to inform The Pacific Community (SPC). As the leading scientific and technical organisation driving development in the Pacific region, SPC will use this data to improve navigation safety, infrastructure planning and rehabilitation and disaster resilience and recovery. 

About Woolpert   

Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG), and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private, and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is a Global Top 100 Geospatial Company, a Top 100 ENR Global Design firm, earned six straight Great Place to Work certifications, and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity, and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. Woolpert has over 2,000 employees and more than 60 offices on five continents. For more, visit woolpert.com. 

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