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LiDAR is an acronym for Light Detection And Ranging, sometimes also referred to as Laser Altimetry or Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM). The LiDAR system basically consists of integration of three technologies, namely, Inertial Navigation System (INS), LASER, and GPS. The Global Positioning System (GPS) has been fully operational for over a decade, and during this period, the technology has proved its potential in various application areas. Some of the important applications of GPS are crustal deformation studies, vehicle guidance systems, and more recently, in LiDAR.

LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target. The prevalent method to determine distance to an object or surface is to use laser pulses. Like the similar radar technology, which uses radio waves, the range to an object is determined by measuring the time delay between transmission of a pulse and detection of the reflected signal.

LIDAR technology has application in Geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, remote sensing and atmospheric physics. Applications of LIDAR include ALSM (Airborne Laser Swath Mapping), laser altimetry or LIDAR Contour Mapping. The acronym LADAR (Laser Detection and Ranging) is often used in military contexts. The term "laser radar" is also in use even though LIDAR does not employ microwaves or radio waves, which is definitional to radar.

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