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Elevation-Derived Hydrography (EDH) Project Opportunities

Interested in improving your hydrography data using lidar and other elevation data? Then don’t miss any of the following EDH for 3DNHD project opportunities. Each is open to all and NSGIC State Representatives are asked to forward this information to their state NHD/WBD stewards and others with interests in EDH. Non-members will be required to register with the NSGIC website.

EDH for 3DNHD Monthly Forum

NSGIC hosts monthly forums on the third Wednesday of each month at 3:00pm ET. The forums are discussion sessions that feature state, regional, and national EDH activities and resources. The March 17, 2021 forum will feature the USGS EDH Specifications. Register for this and future forums via the ‘Upcoming Events’ calendar at the NSGIC.home page. The January forum featured an introduction to the EDH for 3DNHD project and the February forum featured EDH activities in Michigan. All forums are recorded and published, along with materials, at the NSGIC Learning Link.

EDH for 3DNHD Experience Inventory

A key objective of the EDH for 3DNHD project is to gain a better understanding of how EDH is being implemented at the local level, the motivations for performing EDH, and the EDH challenges and successes experienced. NSGIC has developed the EDH for 3DNHD Experience Inventory to capture specifics about EDH projects and practices. If you have engaged in an EDH project, your information is needed. If you are aware of others that have engaged in EDH, please forward the information. The information gathered from the Forum and the Inventory will be used to identify resources needed to support locally-derived EDH. All contributors should coordinate with their NSGIC State representative prior to completing the survey to ensure that the state representative is aware of the activity and to avoid duplicate responses.

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House Approves Additional $10M for Geospatial Mapping to Address Water Quality, Hazard Resilience

The Appropriations Committee outlined support for USGS and 3DEP, designating $5 million for the Great Lakes.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has approved an additional $10 million above FY19 funding of $37.6 million as part its U.S. Department of Interior Fiscal Year 2020 bill for fundamental mapping work to be managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). These funds, described as an essential underpinning of the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), will support and enhance drinking water protection, hazards resilience, infrastructure design, natural resource management and fundamental research applications.

Of this funding, the Committee allocated $5 million for 3DEP to accelerate the achievement of 100% coverage of the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes have nearly 11,000 miles of coastline and, with associated lakes and tributaries, make up the largest surface freshwater system on Earth. Environmental impacts like urbanization, industrialization, chemical runoff and pollutants have led to contamination of drinking water, algae blooms, oxygen depletion, habitat degradation, colonization of invasive species and a host of other toxic issues. The 3DEP initiative will provide data that will enable scientists to address these critically advancing concerns.

The Committee report emphasized the House’s support for the continued collaboration with partners to leverage resources provided for 3DEP to achieve the goal of national coverage by 2026, highlighting the “importance of this mission area to conduct detailed surveys and distribute the resulting high-quality and highly accurate topographic, geologic, hydrographic and biographic maps and remotely sensed data to the public.”

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Pilot Project Kicks Off for 3DEP for the Nation Initiative

Seven states will be testing the state lidar acquisition planning guide developed by NSGIC as part of the 3DEP for the Nation collaboration with the USGS National Map 3D Elevation Program and the Federal Geographic Data Committee 3DEP Working Group. Iowa, Illinois, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin will receive a draft of the guide to put into action and report monthly on what worked, what’s insufficient, what’s missing, and which external resources should be referenced. This information will help to refine the guide, which is due to be completed for NSGIC membership use and comment as early as February 2019.

3DEP for the Nation addresses the need for high-quality topographic data and three-dimensional representations of the nation’s natural and constructed features. Believing 3DEP coverage across the US can be most effectively achieved by establishing plans for each individual state and territory, NSGIC is leveraging its strong working relationships with state geospatial information officers and coordinators to develop these plans.

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Federal Agencies Support State Lidar Plans in “3DEP for the Nation” Project

NSGIC’s participation in the recent USGS 3DEP Working Group meeting gave us a chance to connect with NRCS, USGS, FEMA, NOAA, USFWS, USACE, USDA FS, and other federal agencies to discuss a strategy for completing national lidar coverage by 2023. (Acronyms translated below.) Coordination with and within US states and territories is a key component of this strategy and NSGIC, with a grant from USGS, is taking the lead on that coordination.

The meeting discussion included the benefits of interagency cooperation and methods for leveraging federal and state resources toward the efficient and effective capture of lidar. Coordination issues of concern included variations in:

  • Mission specific needs, for example, leaf on/off
  • Quality level
  • Budget schedules
  • Geographic units of capture and delivery
  • Centralized vs decentralized agency planning structures

The agencies discussed the value of state plans to provide information about priorities for lidar acquisition and to identify key stakeholders. More importantly, they recognized the planning efforts as a means for states to self-organize with regard to lidar; to establish a community and process that can vet stakeholder lidar data acquisition needs, outline schedules and budgets, and identify and solicit funding. The creation of a state plan template was seen as a means to construct the information in a manner that could support:

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USGS 3DEP Lidar Indexing for Continental US

Last month, the USGS released a 2 page fact sheet outlining their plans to align their 3DEP Lidar program with a standardized national grid. The proposed grid would guide the shape of proposed 3DEP grant projects (optional for 2018 but required in 2019) and, presumably, the distribution files for 3DEP data.

This new component of the 3DEP program has been encouraged by NSGIC members in recent years. The grid may prove useful as a framework for negotiating coverage and costs between adjacent project/interest areas. It is also likely the grid will help USGS facilitate 'infill' between larger gaps found between proposed projects and/or existing data.

Also of note, the US National Grid system, based on the military reference system, was given consideration but in the end was not selected. The logic seems solid on this for the reasons USGS cites, although it does mean that most projects will no longer have a true North-South orientation. (Chalk this up in the 'if no one's perfectly satisfied, you might have a good solution' category).

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