What geographic areas do 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contours cover?

Contours cover the conterminous United States at small (578K/289K), medium (144K/72K), and large (36K/18K) scales.

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Are depression contours identified in 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contour products?

Yes, depression contours are identified with tick marks, but only in large scale contours from 36K to 18K.

At what scales are contours visible in The National Map Viewer?

The 500-foot contours are shown at a scale of 578K in base maps, while 100-foot contours are visible at 289K/144K and 50-foot contours are visible at 72K. Large scale contours from US Topo products are shown from 36K to 18K, and in dynamic base map services for scales larger than 18K.

Are 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) contour lines updated and what sources were used to create them?

When significant changes in the landscape have occurred, contours will be updated on an as-needed basis.  The 100-foot contours were derived from 3DEP (formerly National Elevation Dataset) one arc-second resolution data that was sub-sampled to a cell size of three arc-second. The 50-foot contours were also derived from one arc-second data. Large-...
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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: July 28, 2017

The 3D Elevation Program and America's Infrastructure

The USGS is seeing a dramatic increase in the use of 3D geospatial data for infrastructure planning, modeling and construction

Date published: March 24, 2016

3D Elevation – We’ve Got You Covered in all 50 States

How 3D Elevation Can Benefit Each State and Puerto Rico

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November 7, 2018

3D model of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō's crater

This 3D model of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō's crater was created from thermal images during an overflight of the cone. The deepest portion of the crater is about 320 meters (1050 feet) below the crater floor that existed prior to April 30.

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek
April 14, 2016

Comparison Lidar and Air Photo

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day, OR. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries).

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
Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee River, Chattanooga, TN

Topo Base Map, Lookout MT and Tenn River

Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee River, Chattanooga with improvements