State Data Mapping Project Launched For Plateau Area

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | 12:00am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The State of Tennessee is expanding its geographical information services (GIS) development to collect information mainly in the Cumberland Plateau region of the state. 

Tennessee’s GIS Services, part of the Office for Information Resources in the Department of Finance and Administration, received a $670,000 grant to respond to the growing needs for three-dimensional (3D) mapping data in the state.  The data collection will utilize LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a remote sensing detection system that works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser.

“Current and accurate 3D elevation data are essential to help communities cope with natural hazards and disasters such as floods and landslides, support infrastructure, ensure agricultural success and more,”  Chief Information Officer Mark Bengal said. “Nationally, it’s estimated the business benefit could run as high as $13 billion.”   

Through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and their 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), LiDAR data will be collected in 27 Tennessee counties.  Additional collaborative funding to support this $2.7 million dollar project is coming from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Hamilton County.

Through this project, the Tennessee Base Mapping Program, managed by OIR - GIS Services, is continuing its rich history of developing large scale geospatial data in Tennessee.  To learn more about GIS in Tennessee, go to  and

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is being developed to respond to growing needs for high-quality topographic data and for a wide range of other three-dimensional representations of the nation's natural and constructed features.