Work is now underway by Fugro EarthData to develop new elevation mapping over a large area in Southeast Alaska. The contract was awarded to Fugro by Dewberry as part of an ongoing effort to update Alaska’s decades-old topographic base maps.
“Alaska is the only state in the nation without modern, uniform elevation data,” said Nick Mastrodicasa, project manager of the Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative (SDMI) for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. “As an underpinning element to economic and infrastructure development, the State of Alaska is actively working to address this deficiency, collaborating with federal partners to fund full statewide elevation coverage by 2015.”
The Southeast project continues Fugro’s earlier work on the SDMI. As in the past, the company is accomplishing the elevation mapping using its GeoSAR airborne radar mapping system. Unique in its ability to penetrate both clouds and foliage, GeoSAR is considered an ideal tool for mapping Southeast Alaska given the region’s rainy climate and dense forests.
Data acquisition for the project commenced in mid-August with processing ongoing now. Final products are scheduled for completion in early 2013 and will include digital surface models, digital terrain models, and orthorectified radar imagery.
In addition to economic and infrastructure development, the new elevation data will support emergency response, resource management, homeland security, and transportation safety applications among others. In Southeast Alaska, this data will also enable more accurate storm surge analysis and enhanced floodplain and tsunami inundation studies.