Starting Thursday, an airplane will be flying low over the territory using lasers to map the seabed, government announced.

The survey, which is funded by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, will employ Light Detection and Ranging technology, a remote sensing method known as LIDAR, according to Captain Raman Bala, the acting director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry.

“LIDAR data supports activities such as inundation and storm surge modelling, hydrodynamic modelling, shoreline mapping, emergency response, hydrographic surveying, and coastal vulnerability analysis,” Mr. Bala explained.

The UKHO — an executive agency sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defence —contracted a firm called AWH Limited to undertake the survey as part of the Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme, according to government.

The contractor will operate a bathymetric laser capable of measuring depths; a topographic laser capable of measuring the sea surface and heights over land; and an RGB camera taking high resolution images.

The aircraft will operate at heights between 300 metres and 500 metres and at speeds of around 120 knots, government stated.

“The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry is very grateful to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office for undertaking this survey as the data captured will allow the nautical charts to be updated for safety of navigation as well as subsequently [being used] by other government departments to support other areas such as climate change resilience, planning, environmental management and disaster response planning,” Mr. Bala said.

For more information call the Shipping Registry at 468-9646.