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Short Citation:
OCM Partners, 2023: 2011 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Topographic Lidar: Massachusetts and Rhode Island,

Item Identification

Title: 2011 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Topographic Lidar: Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Short Name: ne2011_fema_mari_m2557_metadata
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2013-09

This data set is a combination of 3 separate FEMA collections (Blackstone, Charles-Quincy and Narragansett) with similar specifications. See the Ground Control process step for further information on functional areas. Ground Control is collected throughout the AOI for use in the processing of LiDAR data to ensure data accurately represents the ground surface. QA/QC checkpoints, (FVA and CVA - see Ground Control process step for further information) also collected throughout the AOI, are used for independent quality checks of the processed LiDAR data. LiDAR acquisition products include Pre- and Post- flight reports which contain information on the flightlines, equipment parameters, and other pertinent acquisition details. The LiDAR product itself consists of tiles of LAS points which are partially classified such that the bare earth points can be calibrated to the ground surface and tested via the independent QC to ensure the ground surface is accurately represented.


Provide high resolution terrain elevation and land cover elevation data. Terrain data is used to represent the topography of a watershed and/or floodplain environment and to extract useful information for hydraulic and hydrologic models.




Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None Land Surface

Physical Location

Organization: Office for Coastal Management
City: Charleston
State/Province: SC

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: las
Entity Attribute Overview:

LiDAR points in LAS 1.2 format (ASPRS Classes 1,2,7,8,12)

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:

Appendix M of FEMA Guidelines and Specifications for FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping Partners contains a detailed description of the data themes and referencesto other relevant information.

Distribution Liability:

Any conclusions drawn from the analysis of this information are not the responsibility of Photo Science, Greenhorn & O'Mara, CompassDate, STARR, FEMA, NOAA, the Office for Coastal Management or its partners.

Data Set Credit: Ground control and quality control checkpoints were collected by CompassData, Inc. LiDAR data was acquired and processed by Photo Science, Inc. Quality Assurance testingwas conducted by Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc. All firms were under contract to STARR, A Joint Venture which held the FEMA contract and task order for this work.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 680007
Date Effective From: 2013-09
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


CC ID: 680009
Date Effective From: 2013-09
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 680010
Date Effective From: 2013-09
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Point of Contact

CC ID: 680008
Date Effective From: 2013-09
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1134563
W° Bound: -71.933732
E° Bound: -70.907919
N° Bound: 42.457842
S° Bound: 41.754609

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 1134562
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2010-12-02
End: 2010-12-17

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

This data can be obtained on-line at the following URL:

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

Acknowledgement of FEMA would be appreciated in products derived from these data. This digital data is produced for the purposes of updating/creating a DFIRM database.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 741656
Download URL:
File Name: Customized Download

Create custom data files by choosing data area, product type, map projection, file format, datum, etc.

Distribution 2

CC ID: 741657
Download URL:
File Name: Bulk Download

Simple download of data files.



CC ID: 741659
URL Type:
Online Resource


CC ID: 767750
Name: Browse graphic
URL Type:
Browse Graphic
File Resource Format: kmz

Footprint of the area covered.


CC ID: 767751
Name: Accuracy report - Charles Narragansett
URL Type:
Online Resource
File Resource Format: pdf

Accuracy report for Charles and Narragansett


CC ID: 767752
Name: Accuracy report for Quincy
URL Type:
Online Resource
File Resource Format: pdf

A vertical accuracy report for the Quincy collection.


CC ID: 767753
Name: Accuracy report for Blackstone
URL Type:
Online Resource
File Resource Format: pdf

A vertical accuracy report for the Blackstone collection.

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 680029
Activity Date/Time: 2017-03-20

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 680028
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-14

Converted from FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 718415
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 741658
Activity Date/Time: 2018-03-13

Partial upload to move data access links to Distribution Info.

Data Quality

Vertical Positional Accuracy:

Deliverables were tested by for both vertical and horizontal accuracy. The vertical unit of the data file is in meters with 2-decimal point precision. The Quincy collection has a

a lower vertical accuracy value then what is listed here. For detailed information, please see the Vertical Accuracy Reports listed in the Supplemental_Information section above.

; Quantitative Value: 0.166 meters, Test that produced the value: Fundamental Vertical Accuracy (FVA) equal to 95th Percentile Confidence Level (RMSE[z] x 1.9600) calculated in open terrain. Reported in meters.

Completeness Report:

Survey data have been checked for completeness, points have been collected in correct vegetation units, and distributed throughout the AOI. The terrain data have been checked

for completeness against AOI polygons. No gaps as defined by FEMA Procedural Memo No. 61 are known to exist within the dataset. Positional accuracy was calculated for all

functional areas.

Conceptual Consistency:

Survey data have been confirmed to be in proper units, coordinate systems and format. The terrain data have been confirmed as complete LAS format data files. Header files

are in proper LAS format with content as specified by FEMA Procedural Memo No. 61.


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1134557

GPS based surveys were utilized to support both processing and testing of LiDAR data within FEMA designated Areas of Interest (AOIs). Geographically distinct ground points were surveyed using GPS technology throughout the AOIs to provide support for three distinct tasks.

Task 1 was to provide Vertical Ground Control to support the aerial acquisition and subsequent bare earth model processing. To accomplish this, survey-grade Trimble R-8 GPS receivers were used to collect a series of control points located on open areas, free of excessive or significant slope, and at least 5 meters away from any significant terrain break. Most if not all control points were collected at street/road intersections on bare level pavement.

Task 2 was to collect Fundamental Vertical Accuracy (FVA) checkpoints to evaluate the initial quality of the collected point cloud and to ensure that the collected data was satisfactory for further processing to meet FEMA specifications. The FVA points were collected in identical fashion to the Vertical Ground Control Points, but segregated from the point pool to ensure independent quality testing without prior knowledge of FVA locations by the aerial vendor.

Process Date/Time: 2011-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 1134558

Task 3 was to collect Consolidated Vertical Accuracy CVA) checkpoints to allow vertical testing of the bare-earth processed LiDAR data in different classes of land cover, including: Open (pavement, open dirt, short grass), High Grass and Crops, Brush and Low Trees, Forest, Urban. CVA points were collected in similar fashion as Control and FVA points with emphasis on establishing point locations within the predominant land cover classes within each AOI or Functional AOI Group. In order to successfully collect the Forest land cover class, it was necessary to establish a Backsight and Initial Point with the R8 receiver, and then employ a Nikon Total Station to observe a retroreflective prism stationed under tree canopy. This was necessary due to the reduced GPS performance and degradation of signal under tree canopy. The R-8 receivers were equipped with cellular modems to receive real-time correction signals from the Keystone Precision Virtual Reference Station (VRS) network encompassing the Region 1 AOIs. Use of the VRS network allowed rapid collection times (~3 minutes/point) at 2.54 cm (1 inch) initial accuracy. All points collected were below the 8cm specification for testing 24cm, Highest category LiDAR data. To ensure valid in-field collections, an NGS monument with suitable vertical reporting was measured using the same equipment and procedures used for Control, FVA and CVA points on a daily basis. The measurement was compared to the NGS published values to ensure that the GPS collection schema was producing valid data and as a physical proof point of quality of collection. Those monument measurements are summarized in the Accuracy report included in the data delivered to FEMA. In order to meet FEMA budgetary requirements, AOIs were consolidated into Functional Groups: if AOIs were contiguous, they were treated as one large AOI to allow collection of 20 FVA points and 15 additional CVA points across the group of AOIs.

20 FVA points are necessary to allow testing to CE95 as 1 point out of 20 may fail vertical testing and still allow the entire dataset to meet 95% accuracy requirements. In similar fashion, 20 CVA points are necessary to test to CE95 as discussed above. 15 CVA points were collected per AOI or per Functional Group with the intention at the outset that 5 of the collected FVAs would perform double-duty as Open-class CVA points, to total 20 CVAs per AOI or Functional Group. The Functional Groups are as follows: Narragansett/Charles/Blackstone(northeast), Nashua, Blackstone(north and west), Quinnipiac, Quincy/Suffolk (while included as part of the FEMA Charles AOI, was physically separated from the Charles AOI polygon and treated as an independent functional area). The following software packages and utilities were used to control the GPS receiver in the field during data collection, and then ingest and export the collected GPS data for all points: Trimble Survey Controller, Trimble Pathfinder Office.

The following software utilities were used to translate the collected Latitude/Longitude Decimal Degree HAE GPS data for all points into Latitude/Longitude Degrees/Minutes/Seconds for checking the collected monument data against the published NGS Datasheet Lat/Long DMS values and into UTM NAD83 Northings/Eastings: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers CorpsCon, National Geodetic Survey Geoid09NAVD88. MSL values were determined using the most recent NGS-approved geoid model to generate geoid separation values for each Lat/Long coordinate pair. In this fashion, Orthometric heights were determined for each Control, FVA and CVA point by subtracting the generated Geoid Separation value from the Ellipsoidal Height (HAE) for publication and use as MSL NAVD88(09).

Process Date/Time: 2011-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 3

CC ID: 1134559

Applanix software was used in the post processing of the airborne GPS and inertial data that is critical to the positioning and orientation of the sensor during all flights. POSPac MMS provides the smoothed best estimate of trajectory (SBET) that is necessary for Optech's post processor to develop the point cloud from the LiDAR missions. The point cloud is the mathematical three dimensional collection of all returns from all laser pulses as determined from the aerial mission. Optech?s DASHMap software and Leica?s ALS Post Processor software were used to create the Raw LIDAR Flight Line strips. At this point this data is ready for analysis, classification, and filtering to generate a bare earth surface model in which the above ground features are removed from the data set. The GeoCue and TerraScan software packages are then used for the automated data classification. Project specific macros are created to classify the ground and to remove the side overlap between parallel flight lines. LAS Class 2 (Ground) is used to check the surveyed control points against the Triangulated LIDAR surface. Any bias is then removed using macro functionality within TerraScan. Unclassified Point Cloud tiles are then created using TerraScan macro functionality. These tiles are populated within GeoCue to ensure correct LAS versioning and LAS Header information. LAS Class 2 is used to check the independent QC points against the Triangulated LiDAR surface. If RMSE is not within guidelines TerraScan software is utilized to remove any bias, and the check is performed again.

Process Date/Time: 2011-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 4

CC ID: 1134560

The NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) received the topographic files in LAS V1.2 format. The files contained lidar elevation measurements, classifications, intensity data, return information, GPS time and scan angle. The data were received in NAD83 UTM Zone 19N and were vertically referenced to NAVD88 using the Geoid09 model. The vertical units of the data were meters. OCM performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes:

1. All Class 11 points were changed to Class 12 (Overlap)

2. The topographic las files' global encoding bit was set to '1' to reflect the use of Adjusted Standard GPS Time.

3. The topographic las files were converted from a Projected Coordinate System (UTM19N) to Geographic coordinates (NAD83).

4. The topographic las files' horizontal units were converted from meters to decimal degrees.

5. The topographic las files were converted from orthometric (NAVD88) heights to ellipsoidal heights using Geoid09.

Process Date/Time: 2013-09-01 00:00:00

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 49842
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:49842
Metadata Record Created By: Anne Ball
Metadata Record Created: 2017-11-15 15:22+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-03-16
Owner Org: OCMP
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-03-16
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-03-16