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October 25, 2022

An improved national elevation program has the potential to generate $13.5 billion in new benefits each year if it meets all needs and once fully operational, according to the 3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study.

The 3D Nation Study was led through a partnership between National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and has been released by Dewberry, the contractors for the study.

“This study is foundational to our future direction of the 3D National Topography Model that integrates elevation and hydrography in 3D.  The 3D National Topography Model will provide the terrestrial component of the 3D Nation vision we share with NOAA to build a continuous elevation and hydrography surface from the peaks of our mountains to the depths of our waters.” said Kevin Gallagher, USGS associate director for Core Science Systems. 

The 3D Nation Study builds on the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment (NEEA, Dewberry, 2012) to document U.S. topographic and inland, nearshore, and offshore bathymetric 3D elevation data requirements and benefits.  The NEEA was a seminal study and the 3D Nation Study is even more comprehensive in the terrestrial, coastal and ocean geographies and technical information it covers.   

Study participants included 45 federal agencies, 56 states and territories, 99 local and 8 tribal governments and 58 non-governmental organizations. In addition, 1,352 mission critical activities were identified. 

More information about the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), including program benefits and uses and updates on 3DEP partnership opportunities, is available at the 3DEP website

More information about NOAA’s Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping is available at the NOAA website

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