Status report for the 3D Elevation Program, 2013-2014

Open-File Report 2015-1161
By: , and 



The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) goal is to acquire, manage, and distribute enhanced three-dimensional elevation data for the Nation and U.S. territories by 2023. This status report covers implementation activities during 2013–2014 to include meeting funding objectives, developing a management structure, modernizing systems, and collecting and producing initial 3DEP data and products. The Nation will not have complete coverage of 3DEP quality data until 2023 assuming that sufficient funding is available. In spite of the overall condition of government budgets, the 3DEP initiative has gained widespread support and had incremental budget success to include supplemental funding resulting from natural disasters. The 3DEP Executive Forum and a wide range of professional organizations are actively working to maintain support for the program. The systems that have been developed to support increasing acquisition and processing levels are largely in place. The first 3DEP quality datasets were released to the public in late 2014. In addition, light detection and ranging (lidar), interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifsar), and digital elevation models (DEMs) acquired before 2014 are all supported within the new infrastructure and available for download. Research is ongoing to expand the suite of products and services, and to increase overall throughput and data management efficiency. Emerging technologies may result in lower acquisition costs in the future. Elevation data acquired by 3DEP partnerships will be available through The National Map representing one of the largest and most comprehensive databases publicly available for the United States. 

Suggested Citation

Lukas, Vicki, Eldridge, D.F., Jason, A.L., Saghy, D.L., Steigerwald, P.R., Stoker, J.M., Sugarbaker, L.J., and Thunen, D.R., 2015, Status report for the 3D Elevation Program, 2013–2014: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1161, 17 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Leadership and Growth
  • The U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory
  • Data Acquisition Unit Costs
  • Data Acquisition Investments
  • Operations Modernization
  • Lidar Base Specification
  • New Products and Services
  • Summary
  • Technology Outlook
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Status report for the 3D Elevation Program, 2013-2014
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1161
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151161
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Geospatial Program
Description iv, 17 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y