2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 34-6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


WITT III, Emitt C., U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, 1400 Independence Road, Rolla, MO 65401, FULLER, Tracy, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program, Denver, CO 80225-0046 and ANDERSON, Becci, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program, Anchorage, AK 99508, ecwitt@usgs.gov

Alaska is the final frontier for geospatial data and map currency. This is due in part to the complexity of collecting geospatial data in a region where climatic conditions are highly variable, limiting collection windows for orbital and suborbital data. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with several other federal and state agency partners has implemented the Alaska Mapping Initiative. This initiative has led to focused collection of geospatial data to meet the needs of the mapping community. These data support new statewide US Topo maps for Alaska at 1:25,000 map-scales providing a more current and detailed map series than the previous statewide USGS topographic map series at 1:63,360. Of particular interest to the geologic community is the systematic collection of high-resolution elevation data by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (ifsar). Ifsar is a useful technology in Alaska because of its ability to penetrate cloud cover which is the largest single obstacle for the collection of remote sensing data in this region. The acquisition of high-resolution elevation data will provide enormous benefits for both geologic and hydrologic applications as well as basic research. Approximately 48% of the state is covered with the new 5-meter resolution ifsar product, which includes a Digital Terrain Model (DTM), Digital Surface Model, and Orthorectified Radar Image. The DTM currently exists within the 10 meter layer of the National Elevation Dataset, but is available quality assured at original product resolution from the USGS Sciencebase catalog through The National Map and EarthExplorer. Ifsar collection occurs incrementally on an annual basis depending on funding with complete coverage of the state anticipated by 2017. This presentation shows the status of elevation coverage for Alaska and provides general guidance on its accessibility.