Progresses in remote sensing of the atmosphere using the light detection and ranging (lidar) technique closely follows progresses in laser technology. We developed a mobile differential absorption lidar (DIAL) system, based on high repetition rate excimer-pumped dye lasers, for performing 2-D and 3-D mappings of concentration of NO, NO2, SO2, and O3. The high sensitivity of the system has been used for numerous environmental studies and measurement campaigns, providing for the first time a direct correlation between emission and immission. Attractive results have been obtained under urban conditions, because of the presence of strong concentration gradients, and fast fluctuations due to traffic. A comparative study between Lyon, France; Stuttgart, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; and Berlin, Germany; is presented. In particular, the Berlin campaign demonstrates the possibility of detecting unknown emitters and monitoring exportation-importation processes of atmospheric pollution. A new stationary DIAL system has recently been constructed and implemented on the top of a building in the center of the city of Leipzig, Germany. It will routinely perform concentration mappings of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and ozone, giving access to long term evolution of pollution distributions.