This from the USGS… The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is a national initiative to accelerate the collection of 3-dimensional elevation data, to manage the authoritative lidar and ifsar datasets, and to provide elevation products and services to everyone for applications ranging from flood risk management to agricultural production.
The “3DEP Program Initiative – A Call for Action” details the objectives for the collaborative 3DEP plan to help partner organizations better understand 3DEP priorities and become part of the domestic strategy to refresh all of the 3D elevation data over the next eight years. When data from 3DEP are made available as a free public service, they could generate more than $690 million per year in new benefits. The plan guides and leverages numerous partner investments and private sector technologies for 3DEP visibility and advancement. By applying 3D elevation data to their business practices, it is anticipated that the government and private users will realize benefits and increase support for 3DEP. Link to the Circular: http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/
More info… The primary goal of 3DEP is to systematically collect enhanced elevation data in the form of high-quality light detection and ranging (lidar) data over the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories, with data acquired over an 8-year period. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifsar) data will be collected over Alaska, where cloud cover and remote locations preclude the use of lidar over much of the State. The 3DEP initiative is based on the results of the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment.