US National Enhanced Elevation Assessment 2012


The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is a program managed by the USGS to acquire high-resolution elevation data for the Nation. It produces point clouds, bare-earth digital elevation models (DEMs), and other products.

3DEP is backed by a comprehensive assessment of light detection and ranging (lidar), interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IfSAR), and related elevation data requirements.

The goal of this high-priority cooperative program is to acquire complete coverage of quality level 2 lidar data for the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories, and IfSAR data for Alaska.

Geographical scope

United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories including Alaska

Non-quantified impacts

The shared lidar, IfSAR, and derived elevation datasets would foster cooperation and improve decision-making among all levels of government and other stakeholders.

Quantifiable impacts

3DEP can conservatively provide new benefits of USD 690 million per year and has the potential to generate USD 13 billion per year in new benefits through applications that span the economy (Dewberry, 2012).



Study type

Extensive questionnaire to state authorities

Economy sector

Water, Infrastructure (Transport), Infrastructure (ICT), Infrastructure (Energy), Tourism, Public Safety and Security, Disaster Risk Management, Retail, Insurance, Real Estate and Land Administration, Design and Construction, Public Sector Local Government, Public Sector Central Government, Environment, Agriculture, Defence