NB_170_19_2 - NB 170-19-2 CGI – High-Resolution Elevation (IFSAR & LiDAR) Acquisition
NB 170-19-2 CGI – High-Resolution Elevation (IFSAR & LiDAR) Acquisition
National Bulletin: 170-19-2 Date: April 4, 2019
Subject: CGI – High-Resolution Elevation (IFSAR & LiDAR) Acquisition

Purpose.  To provide guidance for acquisition of high-resolution elevation data (LiDAR and IFSAR) for fiscal year (FY) 2019 and the next few years, and to continue a nationally coordinated data management strategy to ensure quality of product, avoid duplication, and work toward a seamless national elevation data set.    
Expiration Date.  December 31, 2019
Background.  The “Long-Term Centralized LiDAR Investment Strategy” was approved in 2018. This is expected to continue improving the overall value and efficiency of the LiDAR acquisition process for NRCS. It will also provide funding to centrally store and distribute elevation data in enterprise geospatial web services, making the data accessible to all in the agency. State NRCS offices will all follow the centralized strategy, submitting their prioritized requirements in the form of a multiyear plan to sequence projects by priority. Requests for central acquisition funding should include requirements listed in the explanation section.

New elevation data is needed to replace the legacy topographic maps and datasets that are out of date and do not have the quality or resolution to support conservation planning and design. Currently, LiDAR data are being utilized extensively in agricultural, forestry settings, and other resource assessment applications. The data provides land use managers accurate topographic data to plan, design, and implement conservation practices. NRCS has made significant investments since 2004 in the acquisition and utilization of elevation data, including LiDAR and IFSAR. Alaska is nearing 98 percent coverage from ISFAR data. LiDAR quality level 2 (QL2) data is currently available on approximately one third of agricultural land in the United States.

Much of the data acquisition has come from leveraging other Federal, State, and local funding in the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) partnership managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). NRCS has been a major supporter of 3DEP and the broad agency announcement (BAA) acquisition process since 2004 to leverage investments with partners and optimize our investments. The USGS Broad Agency Announcement is a matching grant program that accepts applications all year but receives the majority in October or November of each year on the primary due date. USGS National Geospatial Program, FEMA Headquarters, NRCS, and the Forest Service are the four primary matching organizations providing matching federal funds. The 3DEP goal is to acquire, manage, and distribute 3D elevation data for the Nation and U.S. territories. Acquiring data through a unified approach significantly benefits Federal partners and the Nation’s taxpayers in multiple ways.

The 3DEP is a cooperative program that meets the needs of a broad range of stakeholders and depends on shared contributions through Federal, State, Tribal, and private-sector partnerships.

The NRCS is a committed partner in the 3DEP effort. The NRCS utilizes 3D elevation data to support multiple business areas including watershed, soils, geology, wetlands, vegetation management, easements, restoration, engineering, mapping, and other programs.

The National Geospatial Center of Excellence (NGCE) participates in 3DEP on the agency’s behalf and will implement an efficient acquisition and data management system to create a seamless, national elevation dataset.
Explanation.  To achieve the desired goals and benefits of the national data management strategy, State conservationists, division directors, and center directors or designees will coordinate LiDAR acquisitions through the NGCE and are encouraged to use the USGS Geospatial Products and Services Contract (GPSC) for their LiDAR requirements. States and divisions are also encouraged to utilize the existing 5-year interagency agreement that NRCS-NGCE has with USGS. Alternative plans should be shared with the regional conservationists and NGCE.

The process for nationally coordinated LiDAR and IFSAR acquisition and data management in FY 2019 and the next few years is as follows:

• By June 14, 2019, provide geographic areas of interest and anticipated funding sources to NGCE. See http://arcg.is/1j4W1L for format and instructions on how to upload new areas of interest. In addition, report all projects you would like to acquire over the next few years regardless of State funds and list available State FY 2019 funds you have to acquire the data. Please enter that information in the “SummaryStateLiDARFunding2019” spreadsheet located on SharePoint: https://usdagcc.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/nrcs_ssra/gis/EteavtCmKzpKnHX9rEgeKfwBF3jakiTGHA7iD4ao3VneQg?e=Kf6Tc2
• If requesting central funding, please provide the following:
o If the area is in a high-workload area
o The status of existing elevation data in the requested area: no LiDAR, inadequate quality LiDAR, outdated LiDAR approaching 8 years old.
o A list of current or potential partners and the status of collaboration or participation in state LiDAR plans
o How much funding is requested.
• By June 14, 2019, transfer state funds for fall 2019 and spring 2020 acquisition to 80: NAT’L CARTO&GEOSPATIAL DB CTR using the Allotment Planning & Management (APM) tool in FMMI. Staff should add “FY19 LiDAR Acquisition” in the comment section. Process steps:
o State FRS or POC initiates funds transfer request in APM
o State FRS or POC notifies national elevation leader of WBS code and amount
o National elevation leader updates “ProjectedStateLiDARFunding2019” on SharePoint
o Regional conservationists review and confirm investments with State POC, then approve or reject.
o NGCE FRS initiates allowance change request with matching WBS code and amount
o Program manager review and approval then senior program manager or program director of funding source.
o Budget Execution will verify funds available and execute transfer
• All elevation task orders should request a copy of the data to be sent to the State office and NGCE for support of building a national map.

Funds received after June 14 but before the grants and agreements cutoff will be combined in an agreement modification but may be subject to delays resulting in acquisitions no sooner than spring 2020.

The NGCE is available to assist States with questions related to contract specifications and contracting opportunities, such as partnering with USGS and leveraging potential funds through the 3DEP partnership. Minimum specification for acquiring high resolution elevation data for new uncovered areas of interest must meet 3DEP QL2.

See http://arcg.is/1j4W1L for format and how to upload new areas of interest. Edit “ProjectedStateLiDARFunding2019” spreadsheet on the SharePoint: https://usdagcc.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/nrcs_ssra/gis/EteavtCmKzpKnHX9rEgeKfwBF3jakiTGHA7iD4ao3VneQg?e=Kf6Tc2
Contact.  . For further information and access to online portal for data submittals, please contact Collin McCormick, National Elevation Leader, NGCE, at Collin.mccormick@usda.gov or (817) 509-3470, 501 West Felix Street, FWFC Building 23, Fort Worth, TX 76115.


Acting Deputy Chief Soil Science and Resource Assessment

Regional Conservationist – West

Acting Regional Conservationist – Northeast

Regional Conservationist – Central

Regional Conservationist – Southeast

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