The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) acquires hydrographic data around the coasts of the US and its territories using in-house surveys and contracting resources. Hydrographic data are primarily collected using sonar systems, while a small percent is acquired via Airborne Lidar Bathymetry (ALB) for nearshore areas. NOAA has an ongoing requirement, as per the Coast and Geodetic Survey Act of 1947, to survey nearshore areas as part of its coastal mapping activities, including updating nautical charts, creating hydrodynamic models and supporting coastal planning and habitat mapping. NOAA has initiated a project to investigate the potential use of ALB data from non-hydrographic survey programmes (i.e., programmes designed to support objectives other than nautical charting and with specifications and requirements that differ from those of NOAA hydrographic surveys) in order to increase the amount of data available to meet these nearshore mapping requirements.

THIS PAPER PRESENTS AN evaluation of ALB data from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) National Coastal Mapping Program (NCMP) for use by NOAA’s Offi ce of Coast Survey (OCS). Th ese NCMP datasets were evaluated through a statistical comparison to bathymetric surfaces derived from hydrographic NOAA surveys. Th e objectives of the analysis were: 1. to assess the level of agreement between the NCMP and OCS data in areas of overlap in a variety of coastal environments and 2. to determine whether NCMP ALB survey data can be compiled with NOAA OCS hydrographic data to generate seamless shallowbathymetry digital elevation modes (DEMs).


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Hydro International





Publisher Place

Lemmer, The Netherlands


Geomares Publishing

Document Type

Journal Article