Impact of OpenTopography highlighted in StateScoop GIS Addressed podcast

Feb 6, 2019

A recent StateScoop Radio GIS Addressed podcast tackled the topic of 3D elevation data collected with lidar. StateScoop is a website that "reports on news and events impacting technology decisions in state and local government", and the podcast discusses the power of lidar and 3D elevation data from a statewide mapping and GIS program perspective. The podcast features Phil Worrall, executive director, Indiana Geographic Information Council; Dennis Pedersen, GIS director, Tennessee; and Nate Roth, geographic information officer, California Department of Conservation.

One of the topics discussed in the podcast is the challenge of dissemination of large volumes of lidar data collected as part of statewide mapping efforts and the USGS 3D Elevation Program. OpenTopography is highlighted as "a remarkable example of how the data can be made available to the public". For example, OpenTopography has been working with the State of Indiana to distribute their statewide lidar dataset since 2012. The Indiana Statewide Lidar dataset covers approximately 150 billion lidar returns covering 37,000 square miles. It's currently the most heavily accessed dataset in OpenTopography, with over 35,000 jobs run. The impact of OpenTopography distribution has been significant, with Worrell stating in the podcast: "Honestly (OpenTopography) made the difference between success and failure of the use of the data because it made it so readily available, and really broke down the barriers to having the normal mom and pop engineering firms and surveyors get access to the data in a form they can use".

Listen to the full podcast below, or at StateScoop: GIS Addressed — Episode 6: 3D Elevation Data. The discussion about OpenTopography begins at about minute thirteen.

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