Can we use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), an emergent remote sensing technology with wide applications, to document floods with high accuracy? To explore the feasibility of this application, we propose a method to extract distributed inundation depths from a LiDAR survey conducted during flooding. This method consists of three steps: (1) collecting LiDAR data during flooding; (2) classifying the LiDAR observational points as flooded water surface points and non-flooded points, and generating a floodwater surface elevation model; and (3) subtracting the bare earth Digital Terrain Model (DTM) from the flood surface elevation model to obtain a flood depth map.
Chen, B., W.F. Krajewski, R. Goska, and N. Young, Using LiDAR surveys to document floods: A case study of the 2008 Iowa flood, Journal of Hydrology, 553, 338-349, 2017.