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The 3D Elevation Program—Supporting California's Economy

May 16, 2019

Introduction

California faces unprecedented challenges presented by shifting weather patterns that are defining a “new normal.” The result has been extreme weather events, prolonged drought, flooding, and debris flows. These conditions drive severe tree mortality, increase wildfire occurrence and intensity, reduce water availability, and hasten subsidence in groundwater basins. Collectively, these challenges threaten public safety, compromise infrastructure, and adversely impact the economic well-being of California's citizens. Critical applications that address these issues depend on light detection and ranging (lidar) data that provide a highly detailed, three-dimensional (3D) model of the Earth’s surface. The U.S. Geological Survey 3D Elevation Program works in partnership with Federal, State, Tribal, U.S. territorial, and local agencies to acquire consistent lidar coverage to meet the needs of California and the Nation.

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