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Short Citation:
OCM Partners, 2023: 2010 USACE Lidar DEM: Columbia River (OR, WA, ID, MT),

Item Identification

Title: 2010 USACE Lidar DEM: Columbia River (OR, WA, ID, MT)
Short Name: usace2010_columbia_river_dem_m8562_metadata
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2012-03

The Columbia River Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey project was a collaborative effort to develop detailed high density LiDAR terrain data for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The LiDAR will be used to support hydraulic modeling work associated with proposed 2014 Columbia River treaty negotiations. The dataset encompasses approximately 2836 square miles of territory in portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana within the Columbia River drainage. This survey was under the jurisdiction of three Corps districts: Portland (CENWP), Seattle (CENWS), and Walla Walla (CENWW). CENWP was the project lead and primary contracting organization.

Bare earth point data are classified as either ground (2), model key point (8) or water (9) and represent the earth's surface with all vegetation and human-made structures removed. Model key points were generated to represent the bare earth surface within a 0.07 m tolerance. Ground points (class 2) are the remaining ground points not classed as model key. Both ground and model key classes are needed for display of all bare earth points. Water classification was used for those bare earth/ground classified points that fell inside a water boundary as determined using softcopy photogrammetry with stereograms generated from LiDAR intensities. All remaining points received the default classification (1). In some areas of heavy vegetation or forest cover, there may be relatively few ground points in the LiDAR data.

The RMSE of the data for open, hard-packed surfaces is 0.046 meters as assessed from 40,266 ground survey (real time kinematic) points taken on hard-packed road surfaces. This value is representative of anticipated accuracies in open, evenly sloped or flat terrain where maximum point densities were achieved.

The project was completed for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, to support hydraulic modeling related to the ACOE Columbia River Treaty project. Data acquisition, bare earth processing, and development of final tiled LiDAR deliverables and DEM's was performed by Watershed Sciences, Inc. Overall project management, photogrammetric quality control review using LiDAR stereograms, water delineation and breakline development was performed by David C. Smith & Associates, Inc. Professional Surveyor oversight of ground control data, ground control data processing and ground control publication was performed by David Evans and Associates, Inc. Final quality control review in ArcGIS of all final deliverables, including preparation of point density rasters and reach based geo-databases incorporating all deliverables, was performed by CC Patterson and Associates.

In addition to these bare earth Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data, the lidar point data that these DEM data were created from and the breaklines, are also available. These data are available for download at the links provided in the URL section of this metadata record.

NOTE ON DATUM ISSUES: All ground control and subsequent LiDAR data deliverables were developed and delivered at NAD '83 CORS 96 horizontal and NAVD '88 Geoid '09 vertical datums as processed in OPUS-DB. Due to limitations in the transformations supported by ESRI, NAD '83 and NAVD '88 datums were temporarily assigned to the ESRI deliverables and ESRI .prj file even though the actual coordinate values in the data files are at the original NAD '83 CORS 96 and NAVD '88 Geoid '09 datums. In many instances, a temporary assignment of NAD '83 HARN or HPGN may better approximate local conditions. Plain NAD '83 was used for the primary deliverable in order to avoid any implication of higher precision; however, the user may want to evaluate other approximations for specific applications. At such time as ESRI includes support for NAD '83 CORS '96, the temporary NAD '83 assignment in the .prj file should be replaced with NAD '83 CORS '96 without further reprojection.

Original contact information:

Contact Name: Jacob MacDonald

Contact Org: US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District

Phone: 503-808-4844



Provide high resolution terrain elevation and land cover elevation data for the purpose of supporting hydraulic modeling related to the Columbia River Treaty Project.




Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None bare earth
None bare ground
None DEM
None DTM
None high-resolution
None Light Detection and Ranging
None U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords

Instrument Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
LIDAR > Light Detection and Ranging

Platform Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
Airplane > Airplane

Physical Location

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

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Data Set Type: Elevation
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: Model (digital)
Entity Attribute Overview:

The following layer name attributes were assigned to digitized breakline features. All features were digitized as 3D breaklines.

BREAKLINE - Added to the ground model for features not recognized as ground by the LiDAR ground classification model. Typically includes cliffs

and similar hard breaks. Digitized from first return surface.

BREAKLINE_OBSCURE - Interpolated breaklines in vegetated areas with minimal ground penetration; used only for significant/readily identifiable

features that could be reasonably interpolated from available ground points and adjacent visible ground. These lines are interpreted from

visible data and fit to visible ground data.

WATER_MAIN - Main rivers, not including side rivers and streams. Designed to be the river in the center of the coverage area, Columbia, Snake, etc.

WATER_OTHER - Covers side rivers, lakes, ponds etc. This coverage is not intended to capture all water outside the main rivers but only water edges

that need a breakline and need LiDAR data re-classified. Typically, this includes streams down to approximately 2 meters in width. No single line

streams are collected.

WATER_ISLAND - Islands in the rivers and streams.

Ground point LAS file classifications:

1 -- Default/not classified

2 -- Bare earth / ground, regular point (not key point)

8 -- Bare earth / ground, model key point

9 -- Water: bare earth / ground, inside water polygon

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:

Not provided

Distribution Liability:

Any conclusions drawn from the analysis of this information are not the responsibility of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Office for Coastal Management or its partners.

Data Set Credit: USACE

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 758046
Date Effective From: 2012-03
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: 758048
Date Effective From: 2012-03
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: 758049
Date Effective From: 2012-03
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: 758047
Date Effective From: 2012-03
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: 1152099
W° Bound: -124.125759
E° Bound: -113.9414
N° Bound: 49.004158
S° Bound: 44.77523

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 1152098
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2009-11-16
End: 2010-07-02

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Grid: Yes
Vector: No

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

Data is available online for custom and bulk downloads.

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

Users should be aware that temporal changes may have occurred since this data set was collected and some parts of this data may no longer represent actual surface conditions. Users should not use this data for critical applications without a full awareness of its limitations.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 758050
Download URL:
File Name: Customized Download

Create custom data files by choosing data area, product type, map projection, file format, datum, etc. A new metadata will be produced to reflect your request using this record as a base.

Distribution 2

CC ID: 758051
Download URL:
Distributor: NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM) (2012-03 - Present)
File Name: Bulk Download

Bulk download of data files in the original coordinate system.



CC ID: 758052
URL Type:
Online Resource


CC ID: 758053
URL Type:
Online Resource


CC ID: 758054
Name: Browse Graphic
URL Type:
Browse Graphic
File Resource Format: kmz

This graphic shows the lidar coverage for the USACE Columbia River lidar data set.


CC ID: 758076
URL Type:
Online Resource

Link to the lidar report.


CC ID: 758077
URL Type:
Online Resource

Link to custom download the lidar point data from which these raster Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data were created.


CC ID: 758095
URL Type:
Online Resource

Link to the data set breaklines.


CC ID: 758096
URL Type:
Online Resource

Link to the supplemental information which includes 13 individual delivery reports.

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 758056
Activity Date/Time: 2016-05-23

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 758055
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: 758057
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 758058
Activity Date/Time: 2018-03-13

Partial upload to move data access links to Distribution Info.

Technical Environment


Microsoft Windows XP Version 5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 3; ESRI ArcCatalog

Data Quality

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Processes were designed to achieve a horizontal accuracy for unobscured raw point cloud data of less than 30 cm.

See LiDAR data report at:

Vertical Positional Accuracy:

Processes were designed to meet a scope of work vertical accuracy requirement of 13 cm Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) for the final integrated

ground model. Vegetated areas could not be assessed using softcopy photogrammetry methods and may not meet this accuracy in all cases.

Open, hard pavement areas significantly exceed this requirement.

The RMSE of the data for open, hard-packed surfaces is 0.046 meters as assessed from 40,266 ground survey (real time kinematic) points taken

on hard-packed road surfaces. This value is representative of anticipated accuracies in open, evenly sloped or flat terrain where maximum point

densities were achieved. To assess accuracies in other terrain conditions, a detailed photogrammetric review using LiDAR stereograms was conducted.

The review was focused on significant and readily identifiable features of 0.5 m height or larger. Areas where the initial ground model point

densities did not appear to support the 13 cm RMSE target accuracy were identified and corrected with supplemental breaklines to create an

integrated terrain model designed to meet accuracy requirements.

See LiDAR data report at:

Completeness Report:

LiDAR data has been collected and processed for all areas within the project study area.

Conceptual Consistency:

LiDAR flight lines have been examined to ensure that there was at least 60% sidelap; there are no gaps between flightlines, and overlapping

flightlines have consistent elevation values.

Professional surveyor oversight was implemented for the base station control survey. All control point data was reviewed by a professional surveyor,

processed for and NGS OPUS DB solution and for inclusion in the database. 10% of the field points were verified by an independent GPS survey quality

control check. All new monuments were submitted for publication on the OPUS online datasheet website.

Ground point classifications were reviewed in detail both by visual review during the initial LiDAR processing and again during a photogrammetric

review against stereograms generated from first return LiDAR intensities.

Shaded relief images have been visually inspected for data errors such as pits, border artifacts, gaps, and shifting. The data was examined at

a 1:2000 scale.

An overall review including mosaicing all imagery and developing a geodatabase of all .las files, raster and vector deliverables was performed

as a final quality control check.


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1152091


The LiDAR data was collected between November 16th, 2009 and July 2, 2010. The survey used both the Leica ALS50 Phase II and ALS 60 laser

systems mounted in a Cessna Caravan 208. Near nadir scan angles were used to increase penetration of vegetation to ground surfaces. Ground

level GPS and aircraft IMU were collected during the flight.

Process Step 2

CC ID: 1152092

Point Cloud Processing

1. Flight lines and data were reviewed to ensure complete coverage of the study area and positional accuracy of the laser points.

2. Laser point return coordinates were computed using ALS Post Processor software, IPAS Pro GPS/INS software, and Waypoint GPS, based on

independent data from the LiDAR system, IMU, and aircraft.

3. The raw LiDAR file was assembled into flight lines per return with each point having an associated x, y, and z coordinate.

4. Visual inspection of swath to swath laser point consistencies within the study area were used to perform manual refinements of system alignment.

5. Custom algorithms were designed to evaluate points between adjacent flight lines. Automated system alignment was computed based upon randomly

selected swath to swath accuracy measurements that consider elevation, slope, and intensities. Specifically, refinement in the combination

of system pitch, roll and yaw offset parameters optimize internal consistency.

6. Noise (e.g., pits and birds) was filtered using ALS postprocessing software, based on known elevation ranges and included the removal of any

cycle slips.

7. Using TerraScan and Microstation, ground classifications utilized custom settings appropriate to the study area.

8. The corrected and filtered return points were compared to the RTK ground survey points collected to verify the vertical and horizontal accuracies.

9. Points were output as laser points.

Process Step 3

CC ID: 1152093

Water Delineation and Breakline Integration

1) Photogrammetric review and evaluation of ground class model key points was performed using stereograms generated from LiDAR first return

intensities using softcopy photogrammetry equipment.

2) Stereograms were generated at a 0.3 meter pixel resolution to support softcopy photogrammetry measurements. Based on an initial test of

approximately 30 test points on hard flat surfaces, the softcopy photogrammetry measurements were found to be within a 5 cm to 7 cm RMSE

of the source LiDAR values. Values were very evenly distributed as plus and minus (average error 1 cm) resulting in digitized breaklines

being a consistent representation of the LiDAR surface well within project accuracy requirements.

3) 3D breaklines were digitized to delineate all readily identifiable water bodies down to 2 meters in width for the purpose of a generally

flattened cartographic appearance as well as delineating water polygons for points to reclassify as water in the ground surface model. Water

surfaces were not artificially flattened; breaklines represent the best visual interpretation of the break between land and water points.

Breaklines represent the water level at the time of flight. Hard breaks occur where the water level is significantly different between

different flight days.

4) Additional supplemental breaklines were digitized for cliffs, hard breaks or other readily identifiable terrain features when not

represented to within 0.5 m or less by the initial ground model classification.

5) Concurrent photogrammetric review was performed to identify any remaining ground classification edits required.

Process Step 4

CC ID: 1152094

Bare earth raster

1M ground surface rasters in ESRI grid format were developed from triangulated irregular networks (TINs) of the ground points and integrated

breaklines. Ground class points within the water polygons were reclassified as water points and omitted from the ground model. Bare earth raster

water elevations were interpolated from 3D water boundary breaklines.

Process Step 5

CC ID: 1152095

Geodatabase preparation and final quality control

1) As a final quality control step, all source .las points, breaklines, water delineation polygons, bare earth 1M DEM rasters, highest

hit 1M DEM rasters and intensity images were imported into and ArcGIS geodatabase, tiled by USACE modeling reach.

2) Mosaics were created from bare earth and highest hit DEMs and reviewed for continuity and completeness.

3) Hillshades were generated and used for an overall, final visual review of the bare earth model.

Process Step 6

CC ID: 1152096

The NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) received the bare earth raster files in ESRI grid format. The data were in UTM (Zones 10 and 11) coordinates and NAVD88 (Geoid 09) heights in meters. The bare earth rasters were a 1m grid spacing. OCM performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes:

1. The data were converted from ESRI grid format to tif format using gdal_translate.

2. Copied the files to https.

Process Date/Time: 2018-06-14 00:00:00
Process Contact: Office for Coastal Management (OCM)

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 52881
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:52881
Metadata Record Created By: Rebecca Mataosky
Metadata Record Created: 2018-06-14 16:03+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:10+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