The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has taken the lead in the creation of a valuable remote sensing product by incorporating digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) into the National Elevation Dataset (NED), the elevation layer of 'The National Map'. High-resolution lidar-derived DEMs provide the accuracy needed to systematically quantify and fully integrate surface flow including flow direction, flow accumulation, sinks, slope, and a dense drainage network. In 2008, 1-meter resolution lidar data were acquired in Minnehaha County, South Dakota. The acquisition was a collaborative effort between Minnehaha County, the city of Sioux Falls, and the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. With the newly acquired lidar data, USGS scientists generated high-resolution DEMs and surface flow features. This report compares lidar-derived surface flow features in Minnehaha County to 30- and 10-meter elevation data previously incorporated in the NED and ancillary hydrography datasets. Surface flow features generated from lidar-derived DEMs are consistently integrated with elevation and are important in understanding surface-water movement to better detect surface-water runoff, flood inundation, and erosion. Many topographic and hydrologic applications will benefit from the increased availability of accurate, high-quality, and high-resolution surface-water data. The remotely sensed data provide topographic information and data integration capabilities needed for meeting current and future human and environmental needs.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Comparison of Surface Flow Features from Lidar-Derived Digital Elevation Models with Historical Elevation and Hydrography Data for Minnehaha County, South Dakota
Scientific Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center