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What is the vertical accuracy of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEMs?

As of 2022, the absolute vertical accuracy of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) 1/3 arc-second seamless DEM product within the conterminous United States is approximately 0.82 meters root mean square error (RMSE), based on a comparison to almost 25,000 NOAA National Geodetic Survey OPUS points.  Accuracy has improved from a RMSE of 1.55 meters tested in 2013, due to the addition of lidar projects over the years. 

The vertical accuracy of the 3DEP dynamic elevation service, which is a web coverage service (WCS) that includes multiple resolutions of DEMs (including 1-m resolution lidar-based DEMs where available), currently has a RMSE of 0.53 meters. 

It is important to note that the vertical accuracy actually varies significantly across the U.S. because of differences in source quality, terrain relief, land cover, and other factors. 

Learn more: The accuracy and consistency of 3D Elevation Program data: A systematic analysis