UAV-based very high resolution point cloud, digital surface model and orthomosaic of the Chã das Caldeiras lava fields (Fogo, Cabo Verde)
Fogo in the Cabo Verde archipelago off western Africa is one of the most prominent and active ocean island volcanoes on Earth, posing an important hazard both to local populations and at a regional level. The last eruption took place between 23 November 2014 and 8 February 2015 in the Chã das Caldeiras area at an elevation close to 1800 ma.s.l. The eruptive episode gave origin to extensive lava flows that almost fully destroyed the settlements of Bangaeira, Portela and Ilhéu de Losna. During December 2016 a survey of the Chã das Caldeiras area was conducted using a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and real-time kinematic (RTK) global navigation satellite system (GNSS), with the objective of improving the terrain models and visible imagery derived from satellite platforms, from metric to decimetric resolution and accuracy. The main result is a very high resolution and quality 3D point cloud with a root mean square error of 0.08 m in X, 0.11 m in Y and 0.12 m in Z, which fully covers the most recent lava flows. The survey comprises an area of 23.9 km2 and used 2909 calibrated images with an average ground sampling distance of 7.2 cm. The dense point cloud, digital surface models and orthomosaics with 25 and 10 cm resolutions, a 50 cm spaced elevation contour shapefile, and a 3D texture mesh, as well as the full aerial survey dataset are provided. The delineation of the 2014/15 lava flows covers an area of 4.53 km2, which is smaller but more accurate than the previous estimates from 4.8 to 4.97 km2. The difference in the calculated area, when compared to previously reported values, is due to a more detailed mapping of the flow geometry and to the exclusion of the areas corresponding to kīpukas (outcrops surrounded by lava flows). Our study provides a very high resolution dataset of the areas affected by Fogo's latest eruption and is a case study supporting the advantageous use of UAV aerial photography surveys in disaster-prone areas. This dataset provides accurate baseline data for future eruptions, allowing for different applications in Earth system sciences, such as hydrology, ecology and spatial modelling, as well as to planning. The dataset is available for download at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4718520 (Vieira et al., 2021).