3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study

OMB Control Number: 0648-0762
Expiration Date: 05/31/2021


The U.S. federal agencies involved in terrestrial, ocean and coastal mapping are gathering information to improve the availability and consistency of 3D elevation data for the United States and its territories. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are sponsoring the study.  The results of the study will help agencies develop and refine future program alternatives for better 3D elevation data to meet many federal, state, and other national business needs. 

For purposes of this questionnaire, 3D elevation data refers to topographic data (precise three-dimensional measurements on land) and bathymetric data (precise three-dimensional measurements in the water).  Questions will be asked about how elevation data relate to your specific Mission Critical Activities (activities that are indispensable for mission accomplishment and/or essential for effective/efficient operations in accomplishing the core mission of the organization).  The questionnaire also explores where you need elevation data (geographic extent), the accuracy and update frequencies you require, and your assessment of how your organization would benefit from better elevation data.

The 3D Nation Study

We would like to thank you in advance for participating in the 3D Nation Elevation Requirements and Benefits Study.  This questionnaire covers a wide range of business uses that depend on 3D elevation data to inform policy, regulation, scientific research, and management decisions. By learning more about your business uses (see FAQ #1) and associated benefits that would be realized from improved 3D elevation data, we will be able to prioritize and direct investments that will best serve user needs.

The questionnaire includes questions about the technical requirements for 3D elevation data as well as questions about the benefits of 3D elevation data to your organization. The technical requirements may best be answered by an elevation data user who has experience working with the data. The benefits questions may best be answered by a stakeholder or person who makes management or business decisions. If applicable, the questionnaire may be jointly completed by an elevation data user and stakeholder in order to capture both perspectives for a Mission Critical Activity. 

We expect the findings to help characterize and value national business needs for 3D elevation data and associated technologies.  This information will help NOAA, USGS, and other Federal agency programs better meet stakeholder needs and fulfill their mapping mandates (see FAQ #2). The data will inform the design of future programs that balance requirements, benefits, and costs of elevation data at a national scale.

The results will also help to unite terrestrial and coastal/ocean mapping efforts for a true 3D Nation, from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans, to ensure public access to an accurate, authoritative national elevation dataset.