NCALM SEED Proposal Request due 12/22

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping surveys up to ten projects every year (each generally covering no more than 40 km2) for graduate student PIs who desire Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM) data. Students can also request high resolution aerial photography in conjunction with the ALSM collection. Graduate student proposals must define a basic research question in the geosciences (broadly defined). No financial support is provided to the student, but it is hoped that the data from projects selected in this program will enable new research opportunities and lead to successful proposals for future research.

Proposals for NCALM seed projects are invited electronically during September or October each year and are submitted online at the Seed Proposal Submission Site. Final selections from the proposals are made by the NCALM Steering Committee. The NCALM website is the primary source of information for NCALM seed projects. However, announcements may also be made through Eos, OpenTopography, and various email lists.


Due Date

December 22, 2017, at midnight CST


Proposals should be three pages or less, including any figures and references, and must contain:

  1. A description of the science, why research-grade ALSM data are needed, and the broader impact(s) of the study.
  2. A statement of how this study relates to ongoing projects.
  3. A location map showing target area, which must be in the contiguous United States and no more than 40 km2.
  4. An optimal timetable for receiving the product.
  5. Data format and processing required (e.g., filtered to expose bare earth, gridded or classified point files including vegetation).

Additional submission information:

  1. This is a single project/single year proposal. Repeat data collection proposals will not be supported.
  2. Seed proposals are for ALSM (airborne lidar) data with optional waveform data or aerial photography (with limited processing) and do not include other types of data collection (e.g., terrestrial lidar, or hyperspectral imaging).
  3. Proposals that do not follow the format outlined in the NCALM Format Guidelines and Proposal Form will be returned without review.

Note: NCALM does not provide rankings or evaluations to graduate student PIs or their advisors.

Data Distribution Policy

Seed project data will be made public six months after the delivery of the data to the graduate student.


Awardees are required to submit a report, not exceeding three pages including figures, one year after the delivery of the data. In addition to the report, awardees should submit one MS PowerPoint slide outlining the most important discovery from their ALSM data collection.


NCALM seed projects do not provide any financial support to the student. NCALM collects and provides lidar data to a student only if the project is awarded.


Projects outside of the contiguous United States and/or in regions higher than 3,000 m elevation cannot generally be funded under the seed proposal program. If the project area falls into either of these categories, check NCALM’s Field Campaign Calendar for anticipated future missions that may be adjacent to your area – thereby enhancing feasibility of a proposal in such regions.

Additional Information

For information beyond that available on this page, the Format Guidelines, and the Selection Criteria, please contact:

Ramesh L. Shrestha, Director
University of Houston
5000 Gulf Freeway
Houston, TX 77204-5059

P: 832.842.8881
F: 713.743.0186