Fact Sheet 2015–3019
Elevation data are essential to a broad range of applications, including forest resources management, wildlife and habitat management, national security, recreation, and many others. For the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, elevation data are critical for natural resources conservation (including the effects of drilling for oil and natural gas), agriculture and precision farming, flood risk management, infrastructure and construction management, water supply and quality, geologic resource assessment and hazard mitigation, and other business uses. Today, high-density light detection and ranging (lidar) data are the primary sources for deriving elevation models and other datasets. Federal, State, and local agencies work in partnership to replace data that are older and of lower quality. A joint goal of Commonwealth and Federal partners is to provide a temporal and density refresh of the current statewide coverage in order to support existing and emerging applications enabled by improved lidar data.
The National Enhanced Elevation Assessment evaluated multiple elevation data acquisition options to determine the optimal data quality and data replacement cycle relative to cost to meet the identified requirements of the user community. The evaluation demonstrated that lidar acquisition at quality level 2 for the conterminous United States and quality level 5 interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifsar) data for Alaska with a 6- to 10-year acquisition cycle provided the highest benefit/cost ratios. The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative selected an 8-year acquisition cycle for the respective quality levels. 3DEP, managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Office of Management and Budget Circular A–16 lead agency for terrestrial elevation data, responds to the growing need for high-quality topographic data and a wide range of other 3D representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.
First posted March 12, 2015
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Carswell, W.J., Jr., 2015, The 3D Elevation Program—Summary for Pennsylvania (ver. 1.1, June 24, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015–3019, 2 p., https://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153019.
ISSN 2327–6932 (online)