In an effort to raise awareness of the need for accurate, state-of-the-art elevation mapping data for the nation, the association of private sector geospatial firms has launched a multi-faceted campaign in support of the U.S. Geological Survey’s three-dimensional elevation program.

MAPPS Association LogoAt a 3DEP Stakeholders Forum held in conjunction with this week's National Surveying, Mapping and Geospatial Conference in Crystal City, Va., MAPPS announced that its member firms were embarking on nearby Capitol Hill to educate Congress on the need to fund 3DEP. More than 100 surveying and mapping professionals from MAPPS and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) met today with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in support of 3DEP funding through U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The geospatial practitioners are requesting $70 million for fiscal year 2016 for the three agencies.

“There is a critical need for national elevation data,” said John Palatiello, MAPPS executive director. “The applications are far-reaching and the cost in minimal compared to the benefits. And there is a capable, knowledgeable, qualified private sector to fill that need. USGS has designed an outstanding program and we look forward to its successful implementation.”  MAPPS also announced the rollout of, a website that explains 3DEP and its national LiDAR data, as well as advertisements in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill and publication of a 3DEP “coffee table” book.

A program developed by the USGS, 3DEP aims to map the United States using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to provide high-quality, detailed, accurate, topographic 3D imagery. 3DEP maps can be used for a plethora of applications, from flood mapping and infrastructure to homeland security and emergency response. 3DEP is also a boon for the economy — promoting economic growth; facilitating responsible environmental protections and resource development and management; and assisting with infrastructure improvements.


The Management Association for Private Photogrammetic Surveyors based in Reston, Va., MAPPS is the only national association of firms in the surveying, spatial data and geographic information systems fields, and is a leading voice in the geospatial community advocating for open airspace for commercial UAVs. MAPPS member firms are engaged in surveying, photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, aerial photography, hydrography, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. Associate members are engaged in the manufacturing and/or supplying of geospatial equipment, services, supplies, hardware or software to geospatial services firms, many of which are MAPPS member firms.