Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

FY24 3DHP Data Collaboration Announcement (DCA)

The USGS has developed a vision for the 3D National Topography Model (3DNTM) that will integrate USGS elevation and hydrography datasets to model the Nation's topography in 3D. The 3D Hydrography Program (3DHP) is the hydrography component of the 3DNTM. This DCA will result in public domain, 3DHP data for the 3DNTM obtained through collaboration between the USGS and a broad range of stakeholders.

3DHP Important Information | 3DHP Project Evaluation Considerations | 3DHP Application Instructions | 3DHP Application Materials


3DHP Important Information 

  • Data Acquisition Options 
    • Applicants can apply to use the USGS Geospatial Products and Services Contracts (GPSC) to acquire data or apply for a cooperative agreement and manage data acquisition through a contract the partner directly oversees. 

    • The USGS is responsible for the final inspection/validation of all data acquired through the DCA.  

    • Joint 3DEP-3DHP applications or applications for simultaneous data acquisition of 3DEP and 3DHP will not be accepted. 

  • 3DHP Data Acquisition in Alaska 

    • Hydrographic features and watershed boundaries are being derived from the 3DEP 5-meter Alaska IfSAR elevation data through existing Federal partnerships, supported by USGS. Because of this ongoing work, no submissions for 3DHP data acquisition in Alaska will be accepted in FY24. 

  • Publication of 3DHP Data for Federally Recognized Tribal Lands 
    • 3DHP data will be derived from previously available, lower resolution 1/3 arc-second 3DEP elevation data or from data already present in the National Hydrography Dataset over areas where tribes have objected to public release of high resolution 3DEP lidar data products for their lands.  

  • 3DHP Specifications, READ Rules, and Project Deliverables 

    • DCA project deliverables must conform to the USGS Elevation-Derived Hydrography (EDH) Specification and Representation, Extraction, Attribution, and Delineation (READ) Rules in effect at the time of GPSC task order or financial assistance award. The current version of the USGS EDH Specifications and READ Rules can be found at EDH is the raw data input to 3DHP. 

  • Additional Products  

    • No additional 3DHP products will be available through the GPSC data acquisition process. 

  • Project Boundary 
    • A Defined Project Area (DPA) must be developed from Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) hydrologic units (HU) for all 3DHP projects. WBD boundaries have changed over time so the DPA must be based on WBD data downloaded from no more than one month before creating the DPA.  DPAs made up of full 8-digit HU are preferred but both 8- or 10-digit HU or combinations will be considered, particularly where full 8-digit HU cross political boundaries such as state or county lines.  

    • Projects entirely based on or including stand-alone 12-digit HU will not be allowed except where required to fill data gaps or with agreement from the USGS Hydrography Data Acquisition Lead.  

    • Project boundaries that include partial hydrologic units such as those clipped by a political boundary will not be accepted except where HU cross the international boundary with Canada or Mexico or to remove areas of open water area where a HU extends to the NOAA 3 Nautical Mile Line. 

    • Instructions for creating a 3DHP DPA are included in 3DHP-B: Instructions for Creating 3DHP Project Boundaries. A properly formatted vector GIS file representing the DPA must be used for project cost estimates and submitted as a part of the application. 

  • Project Coordinate Reference System 

    • Data acquired for CONUS through the DCA for input to 3DHP must be produced in the Albers NAD83(2011) (EPSG 6350) coordinate reference system (CRS) to maintain national consistency. The vertical CRS will be NAVD88 (EPSG 5703). Unless agreed to in advance, data products produced from DCA projects will not be delivered to project partners but available from the national 3DHP dataset. 

  • National DCA Statistics 

    • Understanding needs for high-resolution elevation and hydrography data allows the USGS and the 3DNTM stakeholder communities to define a program that best meets the needs of the nation. Project submissions to the DCA provide insights to geographic priorities, the level of funding needed to support these priorities, and the resources partners can contribute to data acquisition for 3DEP and 3DHP. Collective statistics including total funds requested, total square miles requested, and areas of interest (in graphic and/or GIS file format) may be made publicly available by USGS. Individual applicant information will not be associated with these collective statistics. 

  • Eligible Applicants 
    • Single entities or groups of Federal agencies, State and local governments, tribes, academic institutions, and the private sector are eligible to submit projects.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Minority Institutions (MI), Small Business concerns, Small Disadvantaged Business concerns, Women-Owned Small Business concerns, Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns, and HUB Zone Small Business concerns are encouraged to submit applications either singularly or as part of a group application. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply for or receive a cooperative agreement, but they may participate as a funding partner in cooperative agreement project submissions. 

  • Cost Share and Project Scope 
    • The 3DHP is a community effort based on multi-agency partnership funding for data acquisition. Applicants must commit to funding a portion of the project (cost share) to be considered for a DCA project selection. Project cost share is one factor used to evaluate project submissions.   

  • Cost Share Guidelines: 
    • Applicable statutes dictate that the USGS may not pay more than one-half the cost of topographic mapping (which includes lidar and derived elevation products, including hydrography mapping) carried on in cooperation with States and municipalities (43 USC 50). This law limits the USGS contribution to the project but does not limit the total contribution by the Federal government. Multiple Federal agencies may contribute to a project and collectively contribute greater than 50%. The 3DHP will review the submitted project funding package to ensure that the USGS contribution does not exceed 50%. Citation of this law should not be construed as an offer from the USGS to fund 50% of a project submission.  

    • There are certain post-employment restrictions on former Federal officers and employees, including special government employees (18 USC 207). If a prospective applicant believes a conflict of interest may exist, the situation should be emailed to, prior to preparing a project submission.  

3DHP Project Evaluation Considerations 

3DHP expects to select multiple projects through the FY24 DCA. Each project submission will be reviewed individually, on its own merits, to confirm that it meets with program goals and represents good value to the government. The evaluation considerations are intended to highlight the importance of fostering engagement and identifying mutual areas of interest and common goals between the Federal, State, and local 3DNTM stakeholder communities. Details are provided below.  

  • Project Location  
    • Consideration will be given for project areas: 

      • With published 3DEP data and with no existing or in-progress 3DHP data as shown on the 3DHP status map

      • Project submissions may be considered on a limited basis over areas where 3DEP data have been acquired but are not yet published. 

  • Geographic Overlap with Federal Areas of Interest  

    • 3DHP has the goal of nation-wide coverage so welcomes project submissions from across the Nation except for in Alaska where hydrographic features and watershed boundaries are being derived from the Alaska IfSAR 3DEP elevation data through existing partnerships. 

    • Federal Agencies have provided priorities in accordance with their current goals and objectives for hydrography data. Consideration is given to projects that overlap identified High Priority Federal Areas of Interest for Hydrography Data Acquisition identified in Map 3DHP-F 

  • Project Cost, Cost Realism, and Cost Share (Funds Contributed by Applicant) 
    • The cost of hydrography data acquisition varies based on geographic extent of the project, terrain, land cover, and land use characteristics. Applicants must include an ESTIMATED cost of their project using any of the following methods: 

      • A preliminary Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) received from the USGS Geospatial Products and Services Contracts (GPSC) Commercial Partnership Team (CPT). Applicants should follow the instructions and submit Form 3DHP-C: Request for Preliminary Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) as soon as possible and no later than by 5:00 PM ET on Friday September 29, 2023 to receive the estimate in time to meet the October 20, 2023 project submission deadline

      • An estimate received from a hydrography data acquisition contractor.  

      • An estimate from another source along with an explanation of how the cost estimate was derived.  

      • For estimates not based on a USGS preliminary IGCE, the USGS will complete an independent review during the evaluation period to determine if the estimates reflect valid industry cost for the specific geographic area and reflect a good value to the government. 

    • Consideration is given to applicants that offer larger contributions (cost share) to the total cost of their project. 

    • USGS cost share for eligible projects is subject to availability of funds. 

  • Maturity of Applicant’s Project Submission and Maturity of Funding Sources 
    • Applicants are required to provide validation of all funding partners listed in their project submission via Form 3DHP-D: Applicant Validation of Funding Partner(s).  A “mature” project submission will have a large proportion of guaranteed funding. 

    • Consideration will be given to applicants who engage in multi-state or Federal funding coalitions where project areas cross state boundaries. 

  • Technical Approach 
    • A solid technical approach that will produce 3DHP-compliant data for all stakeholders and the public is essential. 

    • Applicants who intend to manage their own data acquisition contract will be evaluated on their approach to data acquisition and delivery of required data products. All products must meet the minimum 3DHP standards and specifications as described in the 3DHP Important Information. 

  • Past Performance 

    • Past performance is evaluated based on the applicant’s history of financial management of projects of similar financial scope, where available.  

    • For applicants who submit to manage their own data acquisition contract, past performance may also apply to the project’s data acquisition contractor. 

3DHP Application Instructions 

IMPORTANT: Project submissions for 3DHP will be reviewed after the submission deadline but project selection will not be finalized until the FY24 Federal budget is passed.  

  • To ensure data quality and efficient production of standard products and services, The USGS National Geospatial Program’s preferred method of data acquisition is through the USGS Geospatial Products and Services Contracts (GPSC). The GPSC is a multiple award acquisition vehicle that is designed to utilize the teams of firms on the contract for services needed to accomplish 3DEP and 3DHP data acquisition. The GPSC is also offered as a service for acquiring geospatial data for external organizations who are not seeking additional funding.  More information about GPSC can be found at 

  • To submit a 3DHP project for consideration, email the required documents and forms to The email subject line should include the following: State, Last name of primary applicant, FY24DCA – 3DHP (e.g. VASmithFY24DCA – 3DHP). It is very important that the email indicates which 3DNTM program is being applied for (i.e. 3DEP or 3DHP). 

  • Required forms and files to submit: 

    • Form 3DHP-A: 3DHP DCA Project Summary 

    • Form 3DHP-C: 3DHP Request for Preliminary Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) (if needed) 

    • Form 3DHP-D: Applicant Validation of Funding Partners. A separate form for each funding partner should be included.  

    • A vector GIS file defining the location and coverage area of the project formatted as described in 3DHP-B: Instructions for 3DHP Project Boundary Creation. 

    • All required forms and instructions are available for download here 

  • Project submissions will be considered incomplete if they are not submitted using the Project Summary Form (3DHP-A) or if they do not include the following information: 

    • Contact Information 

    • Project Overview 

    • Short Project Synopsis - for public announcements 

    • A polygon vector GIS file (shapefile, geopackage, or KML/KMZ) which defines the location and coverage area of the project submission as described in Instructions 3DHP-B. 

    • Project Cost and Finances 

    • Funding Partners 

    • Past Performance 

  • The Project Summary Form (3DHP-A) is designed for a single geographic area so distinct project areas should be submitted separately. 

  • Project Submission Dates and Times 

    • Project submission emails to must be received email by 5:00 PM ET on Friday October 20, 2023. 

    • Project submissions for 3DHP will be reviewed after the submission deadline but project selection will not be finalized until the FY24 Federal budget is passed. 

    • Project submissions received after the deadline will be considered for review after initial project selections are made.  

    • Project submissions will be considered for review until no remaining FY24 funds are available for obligation. 

  • Withdrawal of a Project Submission 

    • Project submissions may be withdrawn by emailing a request to Withdrawals are effective upon receipt of the request by the 3DHP Data Acquisition Lead. 

  • Notice of Project Acceptance 

    • Notification of project acceptance will be emailed to applicants beginning around January/February 2024. Notifications may be sent earlier or may be delayed pending the FY24 Federal budget. 

    • Staggered notification of project selections is likely as selections are dependent upon the availability of Federal funds.  

    • GPSC applicants whose projects are accepted for funding will be contacted by a Program and/or GPSC representative to continue project development, determine the final funding amount from both the applicant and USGS, and the period of performance for the GPSC Task Order.  

    • Eligible financial assistance applicants will be contacted by a USGS Grants Specialist and given instructions for next steps. 

  • FAQ are available on the DCA Portal. Please email additional questions about the DCA or project submission process to Questions received may be added to the FAQ after removing identifying information. 

3DHP Application Materials


FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-E - 3DHP Status

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-E - 3DHP Status

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F FY24 Consolidated Federal High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F FY24 Consolidated Federal High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F BLM High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F BLM High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F EPA High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F EPA High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F FWS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F FWS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F NPS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F NPS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F NRCS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F NRCS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F USFS High Priority Areas of Interest

FY24 DCA Map 3DHP-F USFS High Priority Areas of Interest