MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms, has endorsed the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

In the endorsement, MAPPS urged the Obama administration, U.S. Congress and the states to cooperatively fund the program at its optimal level of $146 million per year.

MAPPS conducted a market analysis that indicated that a public-private partnership would spawn economic growth using multiple-award USGS contracts for data collection services and increase the demand in the manufacturing for LIDAR equipment. The study showed that there is excess capacity in the private sector to complete the program in the near-term and over its proposed lifespan.

"USGS should be applauded for its diligence developing the 3DEP program, identifying stakeholders in the public and private sector and coordinating with federal, state and local agency partners and the private sector in an effort to develop and fund the program," said Dick McDonald, MAPPS President. "It is because of the partnership and the framework for the program that MAPPS endorses the program and will work in conjunction with USGS to make the program a reality for the benefit the citizens of the United States."

The primary goal of 3DEP is to collect enhanced elevation data in the form LIDAR data over the the U.S. and its territories, with data acquired over an eight-year period. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar data will be collected over Alaska, where cloud cover and remote locations preclude the use of LIDAR over much of the state.