Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2010

Document Type



This Honors Thesis describes the methodology that was used from May 2010 to December 2010 for deriving solar insolation estimates for the University of Colorado at Boulder campus from Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data. Background is given on the LiDAR data set used, including acquisition considerations and the properties of the data set itself. The primary method used to derive solar insolation estimates of campus was the generation of first-return canopy Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) using ENVI, followed by slope and aspect calculations using the open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) GRASS. The slope and aspect raster tiles were used to derive solar insolation estimates using the r.sun GRASS module, and an extraction of campus building rooftops was accomplished using existing vector campus GIS data sets. The reasons and constraints that led to the development of this methodology are discussed and possible sources of error are considered. Finally, the findings and implications of this study are presented and additional steps to reduce error in future work are explored.