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Improving the positional and vertical accuracy of named summits above 13,000 ft in the United States

December 31, 2020

The National Map (TNM) portal provides public access to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) high-resolution topographic datasets, and maps from the Historical Topographic Map Collection (HTMC). Elevation values shown on HTMC maps were obtained from ground spot elevation measurements, as compared to today’s elevation measurements derived from more efficient methods, such as lidar, radar, or sonar. These spot elevations were collected either by levelling in the field or by photogrammetrists in the office, and are called mass points with post-spacings of two-arc seconds (arcsec), approximately 60 meters depending on latitude, in steep terrain and one-half arcsec, approximately 15 meters, in flat terrain (Federal Geographic Data Committee 1997). The vertical accuracy of spot elevations is ± 10 feet. Most spot elevations were used only in contour derivation to create a more spatially continuous representations of terrain, but some were also labelled on the maps to supply accurate elevations of culturally important features such as mountain peaks, gaps, and road junctions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Improving the positional and vertical accuracy of named summits above 13,000 ft in the United States
Authors Samantha Arundel, Gaurav Sinha, Arthur Chan
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70220323
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Center for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS)