Analysis for Agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model with 3-Dimensional Elevation Program 1/3 Arc-Second Digital Elevation Models

Open-File Report 2019-1016



Topographical differencing and edge-matching analyses were used to evaluate agreement of the Coastal National Elevation Database Applications Project’s Northern Gulf of Mexico topobathymetric digital elevation model (TBDEM) with The National Map 3-Dimensional Elevation Program (3DEP) 1/3 arc-second digital elevation models (DEMs). In addition to topographic map products provided through the National Geospatial Program, the model integrates bathymetric and topobathymetric datasets for three-dimensional (3D) mapping of rivers, lakes, and bays in the upland and intertidal wetlands to offshore environments in coastal zones from the border between Texas and Louisiana to east of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Contoured elevation differences between the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM and the 3DEP 1/3 arc-second DEMs indicate that 85 percent of elevation data in the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM agree (no difference for contoured elevations) between 95 and 100 percent with 3DEP 1/3 arc-second DEMs. Edge matching differences between adjacent Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM source projects or between the TBDEM and 3DEP DEMs indicate most seams between integrated and 3DEP DEMs are smooth. Where seams did not match, most differences were in the range of tenths to hundredths of a meter. Valid differences that are greater than plus or minus 2 meters in areas of bathymetric data are found in the Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, Lower Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake Pass channel, the Vermilion Bay bathymetric datasets, and where topobathymetric datasets are integrated in the model. Areas with positive or negative outlier difference elevations seem to be a result of site conditions that affect light detection and ranging (lidar) waveform return signals, misclassification of surface features, or possibly because of interpolation required to develop a smooth elevation surface. Results of this analysis provide information to help understand model parameters and agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM developed using different data types from different sources with The National Map 3DEP DEMs.

Inclusion of bathymetric and topobathymetric data types in the 3DEP aligns with the mission to respond to growing needs for a wide range of three-dimensional representations of the Nation and supports the U.S. Geological Survey strategy for developing a National Terrain Model to provide hydrographic and elevation data that extend the elevation surface below water bodies. The 3D Nation Requirements and Benefits Study sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess local to regional Tribal, State, and Federal technical requirements, needs, and benefits for using topographic and bathymetric 3DEP elevation data will be used to help develop and refine future program alternatives for 3D elevation data that include a category for bathymetry and topobathymetry. At the time of this report (2019), 3DEP acquisition is specific to topographic lidar that meets lidar DEM specifications and which requires surface-water feature areas to be hydroflattened. Cataloging bathymetric and topobathymetric DEMs as part of the 3DEP will require new specifications for acoustic, lidar, merged acoustic and lidar, and possibly other bathymetric and topobathymetric survey data types.

Suggested Citation

Miller-Corbett, C., 2019, Analysis for agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico topobathymetric digital elevation model with 3-Dimensional Elevation Program 1/3 arc-second digital elevation models: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1016, 44 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Study Area
  • Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model Datasets
  • Methods
  • Results—Digital Elevation Model Matches and Differences
  • Summary
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Analysis for agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico topobathymetric digital elevation model with 3-Dimensional Elevation Program 1/3 arc-second digital elevation models
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1016
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191016
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) NGTOC Rolla
Description vi, 43 p.
Country United States
State Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details