From a White House Post on Medium:
To enhance the ability of Alaskans to plan for a better future, President Obama directed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead a collaborative effort to create the “first-ever, publicly available, high-resolution, satellite-based, elevation maps of Alaska” by 2016 and the entire Arctic by 2017.
The resulting Arctic Digital Elevation Models, or ArcticDEMs, project, which responds specifically to the President’s Executive Order on Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic, brings together critical knowledge and capabilities from the scientific, research, academic, technical, and intelligence communities.
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From the Article:
Whereas existing topographical maps don’t resolve features smaller than a hundred feet across, the new maps have a horizontal resolution of around 7 to 17 feet. Their vertical resolution is comparable, but in some places they show elevation differences of less than two feet—sharp enough to detect the rapid changes that a warming climate is creating in the topography of Alaska.
This is a game-changing data set,” said Paul Morin, director of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, who is overseeing the production of the new maps from satellite imagery. “No other country could have done this.” Arctic DEM, as the project is known, is rolling out with Alaska, but by the end of 2017—after a supercomputer in Illinois has crunched all the satellite data—it will cover the entire Arctic above 60º north latitude, in Canada, Russia, and other Arctic countries. (Read about the challenges of the Arctic resource boom.)
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