The Benefits of Improve National Elevation Data
Elevation data is useful for many reasons, but most current US elevation data is at least 30 years old. The National Enhanced Elevation Assessment (NEEA) was done in 2011 to assess the need for new elevation data to be collected.
Lidar, light detection and ranging, can be used to survey elevations, which can reduce the time it takes to update maps, detect fault ruptures to avoid catastrophes, makes surveying safer, makes aviation safer, improves the precision of farming, reduces the time needed for flood risks analysis, collect forest information to determine environmental concerns, detect variation in farm fields to ensure farmers apply the right amounts of chemicals and there is less wasted, locate efficient wind farming locations, survey land for oil and gas companies, and can help locate the best routes for roads, which can save gas and make driving safer.
After reviewing the benefits and costs of collecting elevation data with different accuracy levels and data collection cycles, it was determined that each collection situation, except quality level one collected annually, would result in savings. Different areas require different levels of accuracy’s with different data collection cycles for optimal savings.
Availability of elevation data and technology available for collecting this data are changing. Improvements in laser and satellite technologies are increasing accuracy and density of Lidar surveys.
The NEEA found that upgrading the nations elevation data would benefit all levels of business and government operations, collecting data over larger areas leads to greater savings, and there are no drawbacks to implementing a national program. The USGS developed the 3DEP Initiative in response to the findings. Elevation data will be collected for the US on an eight-year cycle, and IFSAR (Interferometric synthetic aperture radar) will be used to collect data for Alaska. In addition to the already states benefits, 3DEP will create new jobs and transform the geospatial community.
Snyder, Gregory I. (2013). The Benefits of Improve National Elevation Data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Retrieved from file:///Users/rebeccahuteson/Downloads/Synder-2013-NED.pdf