In an effort to raise awareness of the need for accurate, state of the art elevation mapping data for the nation, MAPPS, the association of private sector geospatial firms, launched a multi-faceted campaign in support of the U.S. Geological Survey's 3-dimentional elevation program (3DEP).

At a 3DEP Stakeholders Forum held in conjunction with the National Surveying, Mapping and Geospatial Conference April 13 - 16 at the Hilton Hotel in Crystal City (Arlington), VA, MAPPS announced that its member firms have embarked on Capitol Hill to educate Congress on the need to fund 3DEP.

More than 100 surveying and mapping professionals from MAPPS and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) are meeting with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in support of 3DEP funding through USGS, the agriculture department's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The geospatial practitioners are requesting $70 million for fiscal year 2016 for the three agencies.

MAPPS also announced the rollout of, a website that explains 3DEP and its national LiDAR data, advertisements in the Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, and publication of a 3DEP coffee-table book.

Developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the 3DEP program 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: flood mapping; infrastructure; water resources; natural resources conservation; wildlife management; aviation; homeland security; emergency response; agriculture; geologic assessment; forestry; and many more. 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.

"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."