Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR, or laser altimetry) is an optical remote sensing technology that uses laser pulses from groundbased, airborne, or space borne platforms to measure the distances to objects. LiDAR has been extensively used for atmospheric research and mapping land surface features including topography, vegetation, and the built-up environment. This editorial provides a brief summary of the applications of airborne discrete-return LiDAR in geosciences. Data accessibility is a key issue for facilitating the wide application of LiDAR data in geosciences. Compared with other remote sensing technologies, LiDAR data acquisition is still relatively expensive, especially in the developing world. However, new facilities and tools are being developed to meet the needs of the scientific communities. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Open Topography Facility is a portal to high-resolution LiDAR data and processing tools. A virtual globe (Crusta) was introduced for virtual geologic investigation based on high-resolution (sub-meter) topography data (including LiDAR) and other data on Earth. It is expected that new exciting applications of LiDAR in geosciences will be reported in the near future.