Is there a difference between 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM data and lidar data?

Yes, lidar data are represented as a cloud of variably spaced point locations (x,y,z) of any terrestrial target reflecting the laser pulse. In addition to bare-earth, the point cloud will typically include buildings, trees, towers, and powerlines.

3DEP DEMs are raster surfaces of bare-earth elevation values sampled at uniform horizontal increments. 3DEP DEMs interpolated from bare-earth lidar points are considered a derived lidar product rather than actual lidar data.

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Where can I find a 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM status map and get information on recent updates?

Status maps showing 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) product availability and recent updates are on the 3DEP Product Availability site. Areas containing recent updates are refreshed on a monthly basis. Download spatial metadata shapefiles showing the updated areas for each product from the 3DEP Product Metadata site. Acquire updated products through...

What types of elevation datasets are available, what formats do they come in, and where can I download them?

Digital elevation data are available through The National Map Download Client . Click the “How To” link at the top of the viewer for detailed instructions on how to find and download data. There is a seperate site for Services . The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) products and services available through The National Ma p consist of standard digital...

What is Lidar data and where can I download it?

Lidar data are available through The National Map Download Client . Click the “How To” link at the top of the viewer for detailed instructions on how to find and download data. Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is a technology similar to RADAR that can be used to create high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) with vertical accuracy as...

How can I download 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) standard DEM data in bulk?

1. To request bulk elevation data, please email tnminfo@usgs.gov and provide the following: Your contact information (address, phone number, and email address). Product(s) you are requesting. Requested data format(s). 2. An email will be sent to you containing the following information: Job ID Number. Size estimates for requested data. External...

How can a user get 3DEP product updates?

Graphics showing 3DEP product availability and recent updates can be found on the 3DEP Product Availability Web page. Areas containing recent updates are refreshed monthly. Spatial metadata shapefiles showing the updated areas for each product are also available for download from the 3DEP Product Metadata Web page. Product updates can be acquired...

What are digital elevation models (DEMs)?

USGS Digital elevation models (DEMs) are arrays of regularly spaced elevation values referenced horizontally either to a Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection or to a geographic coordinate system. The grid cells are spaced at regular intervals along south to north profiles that are ordered from west to east. The USGS acquires bare-earth...
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Date published: October 23, 2019

USGS Digital Elevation Models (DEM) Switching to New Distribution Format

In support of ongoing efforts to provide efficient, cloud ready, open data formats, the U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Program is announcing plans to migrate its 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) Digital Elevation Models (DEM) to a new data delivery format called Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG) during the first half of fiscal year 2020.

Date published: February 7, 2019

USGS 3DEP Lidar Point Cloud Now Available as Amazon Public Dataset

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is excited to announce the availability of a new way to access and process lidar point cloud data from the 3DEP repository.

Date published: August 8, 2018

New Elevation Map Service Available From the USGS 3D Elevation Program

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) announces the availability of a new dynamic map service.

Date published: June 26, 2018

The 3D Elevation Program Distributing Lidar Data in LAZ Format

In support of ongoing efforts to provide efficient, cloud ready, open data formats for the use of lidar data, the USGS National Geospatial Program and its associated 3D Elevation Program is transitioning all of its lidar data distribution files to LAZ format by September 30, 2018.

Date published: May 23, 2018

Keeping Current with Map Services Made Easier

The National Map provides a new Simple Notification Service and has new URLs for some of its thematic cartographic map services.

Date published: January 23, 2017

Maps Made With Light Show the Way

The topic, officially, was water. But during a scientific conference in Butte, Montana, in 2013, earthquake expert Michael Stickney glimpsed something unexpected in a three-dimensional lidar image of the Bitterroot Valley in nearby Missoula.

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Automated GNIS Summit Core Generation
July 26, 2018

Automated GNIS Summit Core Generation

A few summit cores delineated by the National Terrain Mapping program in the Blue Ridge province, North Carolina. While many summits are mapped via the Geographic Names Information System points, boundaries for these features don't exist. This program is automating procedures to do so for the whole nation.

May 11, 2018

New 3D Model of the Drained Crater at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

During an overflight on May 11, we collected thermal images of the crater at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and created an updated 3D model of the crater geometry. The collapse on April 30 produced a large cavity, with the deepest point roughly 350 m (1150 feet) below the crater rim.

November 18, 2004

PubTalk 11/2004 — From Plane Tables to Pixels

The Revolution in Mapping at the U.S. Geological Survey

by Susan P. Benjamin, Research Geographer

  • Mapping the United States in the 19th century was arduous, dangerous work; flash floods, bears, and bandits were just a few hazards
  • By the mid-20th century, aerial photography, photogrammetry, and stereophoto pairs, allowed