The US Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI) (Lesson 11a)

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Lesson 11a: The US Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI) - This video demonstrates how to use the USIEI application to zoom, view footprints and attributes for existing topographic and bathymetric data and download the inventory to navigate to sites where the data can be downloaded. For the complete listing of videos part of the 'Using The National Map Products and Services' training, visit this link:



Date Taken:

Length: 00:07:31

Location Taken: August, ME, US


This is Lesson 11a: The US Interagency Elevation Inventory. In this lesson, you will learn how to use the US Interagency Elevation Inventory application to zoom to your area of interest, view the footprints and attributes for existing topographic and bathymetric data and download the inventory and navigate to sites where the data can be downloaded.

The U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. This easy to use web tool helps you explore elevation data available in your area of interest and view basic information about the data sets you discover. The inventory can be accessed at the link shown on-screen.

The inventory contains information on nine categories of data. Clicking on a category label provides a description of the data associated with that category and a link to that data type's map service. 

The footprints for the data available in each category are displayed on the map window.  The slide bars for the categories turn them on or off for display and query purposes. 

Several basemap alternatives are also available. 

Begin your search by zooming into your area of interest.  The interface includes a variety of means for selecting an area of interest:

The drop-down boxes zoom to a state or territory and a county or island.

The geographic icons provide a quick way to navigate to common geographies. 

The standard zoom in and zoom out buttons are on the lower left of the map. 

The mouse wheel can be used to zoom in and out and pressing and holding the left mouse button allows you to pan across the map. 

And finally, you can press and hold the Shift key, and then drag a box on the map.

Now let’s explore topographic data for locations in southern Maine

Click the blue Identify button.

Click on your area of interest. A red dot will mark your location, and available data sets will be highlighted on the map and be listed in the box.

Depending on which layers you have turned on, Topographic, Topobathy Shoreline Lidar, and IfSAR results will be listed under the Topographic tab.

And Bathymetric Lidar, NOAA Hydrographic Surveys, USACE Dredge Surveys, Trackline Bathymetry, Multibeam Bathymetry, and Other Bathymetric Surveys will be listed under the Bathymetric tab.

Where possible, 14 attributes are collected for topography and 7 attributes are collected for bathymetry to give users a better idea of data set quality.

Click on the data set name to view information about the selected data. 

If a project is funded, but not yet complete the attributes for the selected dataset will say that the data is still in production and no information is available yet.

If a project is completed, a direct link can often be found in the column titled Data Access. If there is no direct link, information about the metadata and/or point of contact is often available.

For many projects you can use the National Map Download Client to download the lidar point clouds and other elevation products such as DEMs.  Lesson 4 in The National Map training series provides instructions for using The National Map download client. 

You can also download the point clouds with two mouse clicks from The Digital Coast. 

Next, let’s search for data under the bathymetric tab.

Clicking on download data takes you to the complete report and data for this project.

To share a map or selection, click on the red Share tab in the upper left-hand corner. The viewer will generate a web address that will retain your selection, zoom extent, and the configuration of the viewer. 

Clicking on clear clears all identify results.

Click on the download button to download the current inventory in geodatabase format.  The U. S. Interagency Elevation Inventory is populated by a combination of databases and services. The information you are downloading includes all topographic and a few bathymetric footprints and attributes. Information on all other bathymetric data sets can be found through web services.

There are a few additional features on the interface.  You can hide the layers to increase the size of the map, view the help menu, view additional information about US Interagency Elevation Inventory and related data, and review frequently asked questions. Finally, use the contact tab to ask questions or to inform us about existing data that we should consider adding to the inventory.

The elevation inventory is maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USGS and NOAA update the information through the liaison network biannually, and the cooperating federal agencies also contribute their new collections.  The date the topographic portion of the elevation inventory was updated can be found at the top of the data type toolbar.  The bathymetric information (with the exception of “Other Bathymetric Surveys”) is kept up to date dynamically using Web map services.

This concludes lesson 11a.