USGS - science for a changing world
Logo and link to The National Map

3D Elevation Program (3DEP)


Skip Links

The National Map Home >> 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) >> Publications


3D Elevation Program - Publications


thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program—Flood risk management: Flood-damage reduction in the United States has been a longstanding but elusive societal goal. The national strategy for reducing flood damage has shifted over recent decades from a focus on construction of flood-control dams and levee systems to a three-pronged strategy to (1) improve the design and operation of such structures, (2) provide more accurate and accessible flood forecasting, and (3) shift the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program to a more balanced, less costly flood-insurance paradigm. Expanding the availability and use of high-quality, three-dimensional (3D) elevation information derived from modern light detection and ranging (lidar) technologies to provide essential terrain data poses a singular opportunity to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of all three components of this strategy. Additionally, FEMA, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have developed tools and joint program activities to support the national strategy.

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) has the programmatic infrastructure to produce and provide essential terrain data. This infrastructure includes (1) data acquisition partnerships that leverage funding and reduce duplicative efforts, (2) contracts with experienced private mapping firms that ensure acquisition of consistent, low-cost 3D elevation data, and (3) the technical expertise, standards, and specifications required for consistent, edge-to-edge utility across multiple collection platforms and public access unfettered by individual database designs and limitations.

High-quality elevation data, like that collected through 3DEP, are invaluable for assessing and documenting flood risk and communicating detailed information to both responders and planners alike. Multiple flood-mapping programs make use of USGS streamflow and 3DEP data. Flood insurance rate maps, flood documentation studies, and flood-inundation map libraries are products of these programs.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program national indexing scheme: The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) acquires high-resolution elevation data for the Nation. This program has been operating under an opportunity-oriented approach, acquiring light detection and ranging (lidar) projects of varying sizes scattered across the United States. As a result, the national 3DEP elevation layer is subject to data gaps or unnecessary overlap between adjacent collections. To mitigate this problem, 3DEP is adopting a strategic, systematic approach to national data acquisition that will create efficiencies in efforts to achieve nationwide elevation data coverage and help capture additional Federal and non-Federal investments resulting from advance awareness of proposed acquisitions and partnership opportunities. The 3DEP Working Group, an interagency group managed by the USGS, has agreed that all future 3DEP collections within the lower 48 States should be coordinated by using a 1-kilometer by 1-kilometer tiling scheme for the conterminous United States. Fiscal Year 2018 is being considered a transition year, and in Fiscal Year 2019 the national indexing scheme will be fully implemented, so that all 3DEP-supported projects will be acquired and delivered in the national indexing scheme and projected into the Albers Equal Area projection.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program—Landslide Recognition, Hazard Assessment, and Mitigation Support: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landslide Hazards Program conducts landslide hazard assessments, pursues landslide investigations and forecasts, provides technical assistance to respond to landslide emergencies, and engages in outreach. All of these activities benefit from the availability of high-resolution, three-dimensional (3D) elevation information in the form of light detection and ranging (lidar) data and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifSAR) data. Research on landslide processes addresses critical questions of where and when landslides are likely to occur as well as their size, speed, and effects. This understanding informs the development of methods and tools for hazard assessment and situational awareness used to guide efforts to avoid or mitigate landslide impacts. Such research is essential for the USGS to provide improved information on landslide potential associated with severe storms, earthquakes, volcanic activity, coastal wave erosion, and wildfire burn areas.




thumbnail of document

Status of the 3D Elevation Program, 2015: The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is a cooperative activity to collect light detection and ranging (lidar) data for the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and U.S. territories; and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IfSAR) elevation data for Alaska during an 8-year period. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and partner organizations acquire high-quality three-dimensional elevation data for the United States and its territories that support requirements beyond what could be realized if agencies independently pursued lidar and IfSAR data collection activities. Data collection rates have been increasing as a growing number of State and Federal agencies participate in cooperative data acquisition projects. USGS and partner agencies expanded data collection, completed the initial product delivery systems and implemented changes to the program governance to include a restructuring of the 3DEP working group and formalizing the relationship to the Federal Geographic Data Committee during the final year (2015) of program preparation.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program—Precision Agriculture and Other Farm Practices: The agriculture industry, including farmers who rely on advanced technologies, increasingly use light detection and ranging (lidar) data for crop management to enhance agricultural productivity. Annually, the combination of greater yields and reduced crop losses is estimated to increase revenue by $2 billion for America's farmers when terrain data derived from lidar are available for croplands. Additionally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) estimates that the value of improved services for farmers, through its farm assistance program, would be $79 million annually if lidar-derived digital elevation models (DEMs) are made available to the public.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program and America's Infrastructure: The American Society of Civil Engineers has warned that, despite the importance of the Nation’s infrastructure, it is in fair to poor condition and needs sizable and urgent investments to maintain and modernize it, and to ensure that it is sustainable and resilient. Three-dimensional (3D) lidar elevation data provide valuable productivity, safety, and cost-saving benefits to infrastructure improvement projects and associated construction management. By providing data to users, the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) of the U.S. Geological Survey reduces users’ costs and risks and allows them to concentrate on their mission objectives.




thumbnail of document

Status report for the 3D Elevation Program, 2013–2014: The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) goal is to acquire, manage, and distribute enhanced three-dimensional elevation data for the Nation and U.S. territories by 2023. This status report covers implementation activities during 2013–2014 to include meeting funding objectives, developing a management structure, modernizing systems, and collecting and producing initial 3DEP data and products.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program—Summary of Program Direction: The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative responds to a growing need for high-quality topographic data and a wide range of other three-dimensional representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features. The National Enhanced Elevation Assessment (NEEA), which was completed in 2011, clearly documented this need within government and industry sectors. The results of the NEEA indicated that enhanced elevation data have the potential to generate $13 billion in new benefits annually. The benefits apply to flood risk management, agriculture, water supply, homeland security, renewable energy, aviation safety, and other areas.




thumbnail of document

The 3D Elevation Program Initiative—A Call for Action: The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative is accelerating the rate of three-dimensional (3D) elevation data collection in response to a call for action to address a wide range of urgent needs nationwide. It began in 2012 with the recommendation to collect (1) high-quality light detection and ranging (lidar) data for the conterminous United States (CONUS), Hawaii, and the U.S. territories and (2) interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifSAR) data for Alaska. Specifications were created for collecting 3D elevation data, and the data management and delivery systems are being modernized.




thumbnail of document

State Fact Sheets: Elevation data are essential to a broad range of applications, including forest resources management, wildlife and habitat management, national security, recreation, and many others. Elevation data is critical for agriculture and precision farming, natural resources conservation, flood risk management, infrastructure and construction management, water supply and quality, and other business uses.




thumbnail of document

National Enhanced Elevation Assessment at a Glance: Elevation data are essential for hazards mitigation, conservation, infrastructure development, national security, and many other applications. Under the leadership of the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Digital Elevation Program (NDEP), Federal agencies, State agencies, and others work together to acquire high-quality elevation data for the United States and its territories.




 


 Free document viewers: Adobe Reader | Microsoft Word | Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Powerpoint
 

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://nationalmap.gov/3DEP/3dep_pubs.html
Page Contact Information: 3D Elevation Program
Page Last Modified: Friday, 26-Jan-2018 10:04:41 EST