(TNS) -- A matching grant from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will help defray costs to purchase LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), technology that will help provide elevation data information to Midland County, Mich., officials and other organizations.

“Midland County is a fairly flat county and the need for elevation data becomes more significant because it is more difficult to determine slopes in flatter areas. LIDAR will benefit work being done in the drain commissioner’s office, floodplain delineation and road work,” stated County GIS Coordinator Chris Cantrell in a letter to the County Board of Commissioners.

The USGS states that LIDAR is “a remote sensing technology that collects three-dimensional point clouds of the Earth’s surface. This technology is being used for a wide range of applications including high-resolution topographic mapping and three-dimensional surface modeling as well as infrastructure and biomass studies.”

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) grant will cover 50 percent of the funding to purchase LIDAR. The county’s matching portion would be an estimated $100 per square mile or $56,500. Funds are available in the 2015 capital for GIS imagery fund.

“This will be very beneficial for several departments: drain, mosquito, 911, and Roger Garner for emergency management,” County Administrator/Controller Bridgette Gransden said. “This was a project we were going to originally include in the 2016 budget, but this grant came in with an opportunity for us to spend significantly less money.”

Commissioners unanimously approved a request from Cantrell to proceed with the project. To receive the grant, support needed to come from the board by the end of September. The program has a starting date in the spring of 2016.

The board also recently:

  • Approved a per diem rate for meals in cities designated as “high-cost cities” by the IRS. The per diem rate will be: Breakfast, $13.75; lunch, $16.50; and dinner, $24.75. For all other meals, the county per diem will remain the same at: Breakfast, $8; lunch, $10; and dinner, $22. Rates for both situations include gratuity.
  • Appointed Mark Potts (Republican) and Carol Buller (Democrat) as representatives on the Midland County Board of Canvassers. Their terms will expire Oct. 31, 2019.
  • Appointed Jennifer Hayes and Colleen Markel to the Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board.

©2015 the Midland Daily News (Midland, Mich.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.