Starting in 2005, the French Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Office (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine [SHOM]) and the French National Geographic Institute (Institut Géographique National [IGN]) began conducting a series of coastal surveys using airborne light detection and ranging (LIDAR) bathymetry (ALB) and topographic LIDAR technologies. This paper describes SHOM's experience using ALB in very shallow coastal waters and under challenging hydrographic survey conditions. The performance of ALB in comparison to multibeam echosounder (MBES) and topographic LIDAR surveys is discussed. Further, a procedure is described for integrating ALB data sets from SHOM with topographic data sets from IGN. Recommendations on conducting future survey operations are provided in this paper based on the experience gained and lessons learned. Based on these experiences, SHOM and IGN have begun a national survey project on mapping the coastal areas (sea and land) of France.

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