New Topographic Data for Hawaii

Data on ground elevations are the most important input for flood maps and this hazard mapping is the foundation for floodplain management and flood insurance rating.  Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth.  The United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) announced the latest Lidar projects and new topographic data is on its way to Hawaii stakeholders.  3DEP products are in the public domain and publicly available.

  • Kauai topobathymetric Lidar was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2019.  In addition, the entire islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe are being flown this Winter with no bathymetric depths.  USGS’s most accurate standards are being followed for this collection, which is anticipated for release in Summer 2022.
  • New topographic data for the Big Island has been in the works the past couple years.  Topographic data for much of Hawaii County was acquired in 2018 and early 2020 and acquisition for the entire island has been difficult.  Additional Lidar data is being acquired as part of the Oahu/Maui Nui project for an anticipated release in Summer 2021. A project status map for Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii Counties is below.

Detailed topographic data will be available at the USGS National Map and NOAA Digital Coast when released.  NOAA Office for Coastal Management has an Introduction to Lidar for those wanting to learn more. 

Images courtesy of Woolpert.

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