US: US Geological Survey (USGS) is now updating the outdated and inconsistent elevation data to help communities cope with natural hazards and disasters such as floods and landslides, support infrastructure, ensure agricultural success, strengthen environmental decision-making and bolster national security.
Earlier this year, as part of the national climate assessment initiative, USGS along with other federal, state, local and private agencies had established a new 3D Elevation Programme (3DEP). The primary goal of the 3DEP is to systematically collect 3D elevation data across US using LiDAR.
A comparison of an air photo and a LiDAR image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees. Photo courtesy: Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries).
The 3DEP initiative is based on the results of the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment (NEAA) that has already documented more than 600 business and science uses across 34 Federal agencies, all 50 States, selected local government and Tribal offices, and private and non-profit organisations. The assessment also shows that 3DEP would provide more than $690 million annually in new benefits to government entities, the private sector, and citizens.
Kevin Gallagher, USGS Associate Director of Core Science Systems, said, “FEMA and NOAA are some of our strongest partners because they rely on this type of data to significantly improve floodplain mapping and to better communicate flood risks to communities and citizens.” He also shared that host a briefing on Capitol Hill on July 25 to further describe the importance, benefits and growing needs for 3D elevation data.