The USGS 3DEP program offers a powerful dynamic map service capability to
make it much simpler to investigate the range of products that can be generated on demand from the digital elevation data. The dynamic map service can generate multi-resolution visualizations on-the-fly. Some, like the map on the right of the Finger Lakes area of New York are works of art.
Some of the types of maps that the dynamic map service can support include hillshade, multi-directional hillshade, elevation tinted hillshade, slopemap, aspectmap, and good old contour maps. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) interfaces are enabled to support interoperability across systems.
These capabilities can be explored through the 3DEP Demonstration Elevation Application, an application enabling the exploration of US Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) that are published by USGS on The National Map. The Identify tool enables values for the specified point as well as information on the source DEM and links to download the source data. From the dynamic map service app it is also possible to download images of the defined areas of the DEMs.
As the report on the costs vs. benefits of the 3DEP program predicted what a valuable resource this data is becoming as the entire U.S. (Alaska will be IfSAR) is completed. The goal is to have complete coverage by 2023.
All those contributing to this effort deserve a lot of credit for turning this dream into a reality.
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