An Indiana Jones tale it isn’t. The discovery of Mahendraparvata, a 1200 year old hidden city in Cambodia isn’t the romantic image of an archeologist fighting his way through the jungle to make a discovery. It is the story of modern airborne sensing equipment using laser mapping to give an overall outline of the lost city and its surrounding architecture. Not nearly as romantic, but a heck of a lot more practical.
Lidar works by firing rapid laser pulses at a landscape with a sensor, measuring the time it takes for each pulse to bounce back. By repeating the process, the technology builds up a complex picture of the terrain it is measuring.