3dep lidar nsgic gis geospatial

NSGIC’s 3DEP for the Nation project - conducted in cooperation with the USGS National Map 3D Elevation Program and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) 3DEP Working Group - addresses the need for high-quality topographic data and three-dimensional representations of the nation’s natural and constructed features.

3DEP coverage across the US can most effectively be achieved by establishing plans for each individual state and territory. NSGIC is uniquely positioned to coordinate the development of 3DEP plans for the states through our strong working relationships with state geospatial information officers and coordinators.

3DEP Lidar Acquisition Planning Guide

The 3DEP Lidar Acquisition Planning Guide is now available. The guide provides general lidar acquisition planning guidance, lessons learned, a plan template, and links to relevant resources. The guide was developed with the intent to meet the needs of those new to lidar acquisition as well as those active in long-term lidar acquisition planning, data archive, delivery, and maintenance. 

3DEP Lidar Acquisition Planning Mapping Application Implementation Guide

The 3DEP Lidar Acquisition Planning Mapping Application Implementation Guide is now available. The guide supports the 3DEP planning process by providing templates and guidance for developing ArcGIS Online Map and Apps that document and track progress on the implementation of your plan.

3DEP: By the States, For the Nation

State by state, NSGIC is coordinating with regional, federal, and industry partners to build 3DEP for the Nation. While the degree of program development varies by state, advances are made daily.

Using our existing network of states and territories, NSGIC is documenting collaborative roles, responsibilities, and timeframes for completing 3DEP coverage. As part of this project and NSGIC’s partnership with USGS, states are doing more to explore opportunities through the annual USGS Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the 3DEP program using acquisitions planned through the USGS Geospatial Products and Services Contracts, as well as acquisitions planned and managed by state/local partners through a cooperative agreement with USGS. NSGIC is also working with the Association of American State Geologists to engage state geologists as vital members of the 3DEP stakeholder community.


Lidar Acquisition Planning Pilot Project

Nine states are participating in the pilot project, representing diversity in geography, application issues, acquisition status, and planning status: California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Washington.

As the pilot states develop their statewide lidar acquisition plans:

  • Enlist stakeholders

  • Document existing lidar holdings

  • Inventory lidar application needs

  • Establish lidar maps and apps (including coordination, storage, and distribution)

  • Provide feedback to State Guide to Lidar Acquisition Planning document

  • Document challenges faced and solutions explored

Learn More and Get Involved

*If you are not a NSGIC member, you can register for a Limited Access Account. This is required to participate in discussion forums.


3DEP is a national program of the US Geological Survey (USGS) to provide national elevation data, primarily through the collection of light detecting and ranging (lidar) technology. USGS cooperates with other federal agencies, state and local government, and the private sector in carrying out 3DEP.

A USGS study found 3DEP national lidar data support a number of applications, with the highest return on investment for:

  • Flood risk management

  • Infrastructure and construction management

  • Natural resources conservation

  • Agriculture and precisions farming

  • Water supply and quality

  • Wildfire management, planning, and response

  • Geologic resource assessment and hazard mitigation

  • Forest resources management

  • River and stream resource management

  • Aviation navigation