Developing High-Resolution Elevation Data for the Upper Mississippi River System

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The USGS UMESC is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to create and distribute Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) data for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) floodplain; the Mississippi River between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Cairo, Illinois; and the full length of the Illinois River.  UMESC has received lidar for approximately 95% of the UMRS.  The lidar data were collected by the USACE, the State of Iowa, and the State of Minnesota, with funding assistance from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  UMESC has processed the raw lidar data into elevation datasets to support geospatial analysis projects.  In areas where high-resolution bathymetry (i.e., water depth) data are available, the lidar are merged with bathymetry data to produce continuous elevation surfaces.  These data are used by the USACE, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, universities, and others to predict river flows, water-level inundation boundaries, and runoff at various river levels; design and evaluate habitat projects; assess floodplain forest height and densities; and analyze connectivity.  All lidar derivatives generated for this project are available from UMESC’s Web site.

Landcover data draped over aerial photography and lidar

Land cover data draped over aerial photography and lidar

Author Name
Jennifer Dieck and John (JC) Nelson
Author Email,