3D Elevation Program (3DEP)

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The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) was developed to respond to needs for high-quality topographic data and for a wide range of other three-dimensional representations of the Nation's natural and constructed features. 3DEP is based on the results of the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment (NEEA) (http://nationalmap.gov/3dep/neea.html), which indicated an optimal benefit-to-cost ratio for Quality Level 2 (QL2) data collected over 8 years to complete national coverage. 3DEP aspires to systematically collect elevation data in the form of high-quality lidar data over the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, as well as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) data over Alaska.

The USGS was designated by the Office of Management and Budget (in 2002 through OMB Circular A–16) as the lead Federal agency for terrestrial elevation data. 3DEP is designed to fulfill that leadership responsibility and to ensure that the needs of the Nation for high-quality three-dimensional (3D) elevation data are being met. This role cannot be filled by the USGS alone, and so 3DEP is a collaborative approach to acquiring data for the Nation. 3DEP includes Federal agencies and state, Tribal, and local governments who work together to build on existing programs to complete the national collection of 3D elevation data. Private sector firms, under contract to the U.S. Government, are collecting the data and providing essential technology solutions to manage and deliver these data and services. The implementation model for 3DEP is based on multi-agency partnership funding for acquisition, with the USGS acting in a lead program management role to facilitate planning and acquisition for the broader community through the use of Government contracts and partnership agreements.


3D Elevation Program: Fiscal Year 2016 status of 3DEP quality data.

3D Elevation Program: Fiscal Year 2016 status of 3DEP quality data.

Author Name
Diane Eldridge
Author Email