The 3D elevation program - Precision agriculture and other farm practices

Fact Sheet 2016-3088
By:  and 



A founding motto of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), originally the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), explains that “If we take care of the land, it will take care of us.” Digital elevation models (DEMs; see fig. 1) are derived from light detection and ranging (lidar) data and can be processed to derive values such as slope angle, aspect, and topographic curvature. These three measurements are the principal parameters of the NRCS LidarEnhanced Soil Survey (LESS) model, which improves the precision of soil surveys, by more accurately displaying the slopes and soils patterns, while increasing the objectivity and science in line placement. As combined resources, DEMs, LESS model outputs, and similar derived datasets are essential for conserving soil, wetlands, and other natural resources managed and overseen by the NRCS and other Federal and State agencies.

Suggested Citation

Sugarbaker, L.J., and Carswell, W.J., Jr., 2016, The 3D Elevation Program—Precision agriculture and other farm practices: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3088, 2 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The 3D elevation program - Precision agriculture and other farm practices
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2016-3088
DOI 10.3133/fs20163088
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Geospatial Program
Description 2 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
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