Woolpert to collect Lidar data for USGS in Southern California

Woolpert to collect Lidar data for USGS in Southern California

The U.S. Geological Survey has commissioned Woolpert to collect Quality Level 1 Lidar data and conduct ground control surveys throughout Southern California in support of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) and The National Map.

Overseen by the USGS National Geospatial Program, 3DEP provides the nation's first comprehensive, high-resolution topographic elevation data, which is integrated into The National Map. These data are accessible to local, state, and national agencies and are crucial for making decisions that affect the immediate safety of life, property, and the environment, as well as for long-term infrastructure planning.

Under this task order, Woolpert will collect roughly 60,000 square kilometres of aerial Lidar data throughout Inyo County, including parts of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley National Park, using a Leica TerrainMapper. QL1 data are collected at 8 points per square meter.

First-ever US baseline

“Woolpert has had the honour of supporting the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation Program since its launch nearly a decade ago,” Woolpert vice president and program director John Gerhard said. “Critical decisions that depend on accurate and available elevation data are being made every day, and we are incredibly proud to continue our support for the U.S. Geological Survey and its commitment to completing the nation’s first-ever baseline of consistent high-resolution elevation data.”

Gerhard said the data acquired for this project will also support the USGS 3D Hydrography Program (3DHP).

“The area we are flying is unique and includes collecting data for Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America, located at the very bottom of Death Valley. Earlier this year, rare heavy rainfall across the region resulted in an ancient lake reappearing in Badwater Basin,” Gerhard said. “This is an incredible opportunity to capture data during such a unique phenomenon.”

The project is underway, and data is expected to be acquired by autumn 2024.

Landscape of Badwater Basin salt flats, with halite textures under a vibrant pink sky during sunset or sunrise at Death Valley National Park. (Image courtesy: Shutterstock/Steven Bridger)
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