The USGS National Geospatial Program, National Land Imaging Program, and other elements of USGS, have a compelling national interest in operationalizing technologies that increase the accuracy and efficiency of mapping the Nation. To meet these objectives, USGS may partner with private companies through cooperative research and development agreements (CRADA) to develop or test new platforms for carrying remote sensing systems. For example, platforms such as uncrewed stratospheric airships equipped with lidar sensors may be able to rapidly acquire data to complement the conventional acquisition rates of the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) and other remote sensing platforms. This capability has the potential to increase overall coverage quickly and offer a model for annual coverage of both lidar and imagery, akin to U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Imagery Program.
Comparison of airborne, survey ground, and near-ground lidar and potential stratospheric lidar.
(UAS is Uncrewed Aircraft System, TLS is Tripod Laser Scanner, HAPS is High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite, asynonym for High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE).