USGS 3DEP in Montana

The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative is based on the results of the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment. The primary goal of 3DEP is to systematically collect enhanced elevation data in the form of high-quality light detection and ranging (lidar) data over the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories, with data acquired over an 8-year period. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifsar) data will be collected over Alaska, where cloud cover and remote locations preclude the use of lidar over much of the State. For details about this program, visit the 3D Elevation Program online.

Enhanced Elevation Collection in Montana

Improving the accuracy of statewide elevation data is a focus for Montana. The National Enhanced Elevation Assessment has identified over 602 mission-critical activities that require enhanced elevation data. For Montana these include:

  • Flood Risk Management
  • Infrastructure Management
  • Geologic Resources and Hazards Mitigation
  • Precision Farming and Natural Resources Conservation

Important: Hydrography may represent one of the biggest beneficiaries of higher quality elevation data. However, without resolving the existing NHD data model issues present between the state and federal government (NHD as constructed doesn’t meet State of Montana needs, and USGS editing protocols cause a data currency bottleneck), taking on the expense of higher resolution elevation data through the 3DEP program may need to be further evaluated. See the MSDI Issue 4 (Coordination with Federal Agencies) in the MSDI Work Plan: Montana FY15/16.

The USGS does not support collection of ifsar in the lower 48 states, but the USGS does have funding opportunities to collect lidar in Montana. Contact Troy Blandford or our USGS National Map Liaison, Steve Shivers to discuss how this program may be of benefit to you and the possibility of partnering with others to acquire the data.

The USGS has established internal processes to contract for the collection of and for the processing and delivery of enhanced elevation data. For more detailed information, see:

Theme Lead

Troy Blandford
Montana State Library
(406) 444-7930
MSDI Elevation Theme Steward/Lead

USGS Contact:
Tom Carlson
USGS National Map Liaison
(253) 552-1682