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2006 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Topographic Lidar: Bristol and Plymouth Counties, Massachusetts

browse graphicThis kmz file shows the extent of coverage for the 2006 FEMA Bristol and Plymouth counties, MA lidar data set.
FEMA Contract No. EME-2003-CO-0340 FEMA Task Order T018 Sanborn Map Company furnished the collection and processing, and development of Lidar and contours using photogrammetry to support the FEMA mapping requirements for a total of 142 square miles in coastal areas in Plymouth and Bristol Counties in Massachusetts. The 142 square miles includes the communities of Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, and Wareham. The project area was defined using a buffered shapefile with limits along the coastline. The project area included a portion of both counties. All lidar data was acquired during November 2006 by Sanborn. Orthophotography used to create 2D breaklines was produced in 2005 by MassGIS as part of its statewide orthophoto program. All lidar data that was acquired was produced in accordance with FEMA specifications (Source: FEMA Guidelines and Specifications, Appendix N, Section N.1.2). Lidar Acquisition Parametes: Average Altitude: 1,200 Meters AGL Airspeed: ~120 Knots Scan Frequency: 36 Hertz Scan Width Half Angle: 16 Degrees Pulse Rate: 50000 Hertz The data being distributed through the NOAA Digital Coast are Gridded Bare-Earth LAS files.
Cite this dataset when used as a source.
Online Access
  • Online access is not available for this resource
Distribution Formats
  • LAZ
Distributor DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dataset Point of Contact Flood Insurance and Mitigation Division
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region I
Associated Resources
  • Lidar Final Report
  • publication: 2013-11-01
Data Presentation Form: Digital image
Dataset Progress Status Complete
Data Update Frequency: As needed
Purpose: The LIDAR derived data sets, including the first and last returns, a Gridded DEM, TIN file, 2' contours in ESRI geodatbase format and masspoint and Breakline files were developed to support Camp Dresser and McKee's continued development of updated Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps and flood insurance studies for coastal areas in Massachusetts. Contours are based on bare earth LIDAR and breaklines digitized from 2D orthophotography (subsequently draped over the 3D LIDAR points) (Source: FEMA Guidelines and Specs, Appendix N). Coastal shoreline areas were set a 0.00 elevation to cartographically represent contours.
Use Limitations
  • These data depict the elevations at the time of the survey and are only accurate for that time. 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. Any conclusions drawn from analysis of this information are not the responsibility of NOAA or any of its partners. These data are NOT to be used for navigational purposes.
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DHS/FEMA > Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Massachusetts Office of Geographic Information (MASSGIS)
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/OCM > Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Time Period: 2006-11-10 to 2006-11-26
Spatial Reference System: urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::4269 Ellipsoid in Meters
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
N: 41.795113
S: 41.47402
E: -70.588933
W: -71.136354
Spatial Coverage Map:
Theme keywords
  • Land Surface
  • Relief
  • Topography
  • Digital Terrain Model
  • Elevation Data
  • Slope
  • Breaklines
  • Contours
  • DEM
  • Flow vectors
Place keywords
  • USA
  • Massachusetts
  • Bristol County
  • Plymouth County
Use Constraints No constraint information available
Fees Fee information not available.
Lineage information for: dataset
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers of Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Processing Steps
  • 2006-12-31T00:00:00 - Using an Optech Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system, flight lines were planned for standard density 1.4 meter GSD. The Flight plan for the project includes the following specifications to fully meet the project requirements - single pass density of approximately 2.0 square meters per sample * Swath width 728 meters * Flight altitude 1000 meters * flight line spacing -589 meters with 125 meters overlap *Scan Frequency- 35 Hz *Scan Angle- 20 degrees * Aircraft ground speed -- 140 knots * System Calibration pre and post mission * Two GPS base stations within 30 KM. Multiple returns were recorded for each laser pulse along with an intensity value for each return. The data are calibrated for geographic referencing. Points are further processed, using TerraSolid? software, to classify return values. The first and last return data is filtered to remove the vegetation and above ground manmade features to yield a ground surface. The bare earth elevation data was draped over the existing orthophotos. Breaklines for hydrographic features, bridges, culverts and major roadways were captured in 2D. Elevations were associated to the breaklines by draping onto the Lidar data. The DTM was then used to produce a TIN. The TIN was used to generate 2-ft contours.
  • 2013-11-01T00:00:00 - The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) received topographic files in ASCII format. The files contained lidar elevation measurements. The data were received in Massachusetts State Plane Mainland (Zone 2001), NAD83 coordinates and were vertically referenced to NAVD88 using the Geoid03 model. The vertical units of the data were feet. CSC performed the following processing for data storage and Digital Coast provisioning purposes: 1. The ASCII files were converted to LAS V1.2 using LASTools' txt2las. 2. The topographic las file '8002645' was found to be corrupt and removed from the data set. 3. All points in the topographic las files were converted to Class 2 (Ground) using LASTools' las2las. 4. The topographic las files were found to contain noise, those points were manually reclassified to Class 7 (Noise) using Merrick MARS7. 5. All additional VLRs in the topographic las files' header used by MARS7 were removed using LASTools' las2las. 6. The topographic las files were converted from orthometric (NAVD88) heights to ellipsoidal heights using Geoid03. 7. The topographic las files were converted from a Projected Coordinate System (MA SP 2001) to a Geographic Coordinate System (NAD83). 8. The topographic las files' horizontal units were converted from feet to decimal degrees. 9. The topographic las files' vertical units were converted from feet to meters. 10. The data were converted to LAZ format.
  • 2013-12-06T00:00:00 - The NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) received lidar data files via ftp transfer from the NOAA Coastal Services Center. The data are currently being served via NOAA CSC Digital Coast at The data can be used to re-populate the system. The data are archived in LAS or LAZ format. The LAS format is an industry standard for LiDAR data developed by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS); LAZ is a loseless compressed version of LAS developed by Martin Isenburg ( The data are exclusively in geographic coordinates (either NAD83 or ITRF94). The data are referenced vertically to the ellipsoid (either GRS80 or ITRF94), allowing for the ability to apply the most up to date geoid model when transforming to orthometric heights.
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
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