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

By Lynda Wayne | April 23, 2018

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:

  • Coordination among state stakeholders
  • Coordination with federal agencies
  • Education and outreach to state administrators, legislators, and other decision makers.

Next Steps

The NSGIC project team has begun to outline a ‘how to’ guide for statewide acquisition planning. The guide, including a state plan template, will be piloted with a diverse team of states. Pilot team diversity with regard to general land cover type, mission objectives, level of state coordination, available resources, etc. is needed to identify the broad range of issues faced and opportunities afforded during lidar acquisition planning.

Get Involved

To learn more about the project or become involved, contact NSGIC project manager Lynda Wayne: [email protected].

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USGS - United States Geological Survey
3DEP - 3D Elevation Program
NRCS - National Resources Conservation Service
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
USFWS - United States Fish and Wildlife Service
USACE - United States Army Corps of Engineers
USDA FS - United States Forest Service