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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Initiative (Place-Based Studies)

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

Project Title: High Accuracy Elevation Data Collection Project

Project Start Date: FY 1995 Project End Date: To be determined

Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov

Location (Subregion & County): Everglades National Park, Water Conservation Areas, Greater Everglades

Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Place-Based Studies Initiative, NPS CESI Program
CESI and CERP proposals are under consideration. Funding is unknown at this time.

Principal Investigator: Greg Desmond, 703/648-4728, gdesmond@usgs.gov

Project Personnel: Vince Caruso, Ed Cyran, Gary Freeman, Bob Glover, Chuck Henkle, Gordon Shupe

Supporting Organizations: Everglades National Park, South Florida Water Management District

Associated / Linked Projects: TIME, SICS, ATLSS, Vegetative Resistance to Flow, Fresh Water Flows into Florida Bay, Water Flows and Nutrient Loads to the SW Coast, other agencies and projects that require accurate elevation data.

Overview & Objective: Modeling of sheet flow and water surface levels in the Florida Everglades is very sensitive to changes in elevation due to its expansive and extremely low relief terrain. This project is applying state-of-the-art Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to perform topographic surveys that meets a vertical accuracy specification of ±15 centimeters (6 inches). The objective is to complete a wide-area regional topographic survey that will provide elevation data to parameterize hydrologic and ecological models.

Status: Four field trips have been conducted in FY03 to date. Post-processing of those field data is nearly completed. Field data collection covering Everglades National Park (ENP) and the TIME model domain has been completed with the exception of the Whitewater Bay East and Flamingo quadrangles. However, due to funding problems all travel and OE expenditures are currently frozen until additional funding sources can be identified.

Recent & Planned Products: The topographic surveys are being performed using differential GPS technology, and a USGS developed helicopter-based instrument known as the Airborne Height Finder (AHF). In some areas, the surveying has been accomplished using airboats. The primary products being developed by this project are Digital Elevation Models (DEM's) that define the topography of the Everglades. The DEM's are organized by USGS quadrangles and are posted on the South Florida Information Access website (http://sofia.usgs.gov) once approved for release. Another major accomplishment has been the surveying of USGS and NPS water level gages distributed throughout ENP. A database, or "gage gazetteer", of the gage sites has been produced. The gazetteer contains a table of gage sites whereby the user clicks on a name and a data sheet is displayed containing the 3-D position of the reference mark and a photograph of the gage site.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: The project supports the restoration and resource management efforts by providing critical data for the parameterization of numerical hydrologic and ecological models. Water resources and land management decisions will rely heavily on the results of these simulation models. It is imperative to derive and use the most accurate elevation data available for the models to produce meaningful results.

Key Finding: The AHF system is the superior technology for conducting a wide-area topographic survey of the Florida Everglades where the terrain surface being measured is inundated by surface water.

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(TJE)