Red River Basin Mapping Initiative, Independent Quality Assessment

Location: Red River of the North Watershed Client: International Water Institute The International Water Institute (IWI) secured funding for a high-resolution digital elevation data collection project in the Red River of the North watershed. The Red River Basin Mapping Initiative (RRBMI) includes all or portions of 45 counties in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota, a proposed collection area of approximately 45,000 square miles. In 2008, the IWI began to collect and process the LiDAR data. The United States Army Corps of Engineers entered into a cost-share agreement with the Minnesota Red River Watershed Management Board and the North Dakota Red River Joint Water Resource District to contribute funding and resources towards the project. The LiDAR data is being delivered in 14 separate blocks of data. The IWI retained HEI to conduct a third party independent quality assessment of the LiDAR data. The quality assessment has two components. The first is to collect vertical accuracy checkpoints with elevations distributed randomly across the project area. In total, we have collected approximately 900 points. The checkpoints were collected across five different vegetation types, including 1) bare earth/low grass, 2) high grass/weeds/crops, 3) brush lands/low trees, 4) forested, and 5) urban areas, accumulating to a minimum of 20 points in the dominant land use category. Digital photos were taken of each GPS shot to document the vegetation type. The second component of the work was using the checkpoints to create a quality assessment report for each data block. The report includes reporting accuracy of the data by computing RMSE and statistics by comparing the elevation from the LiDAR data against the independent checkpoints. HEI performed a visual assessment of the data by reviewing approximately 5% of the total tiles. For more information please visit the project website at

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