Data Training Webinar: Area and Road Ruggedness Scales

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Duration: 1 hour
Presenters: Elizabeth Dobis and John Cromartie

View the recorded webinar.

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USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) recently developed and published the first-ever detailed measures of rugged terrain with full nationwide coverage for the United States, now available in the Area and Road Ruggedness Scales data product.

Rugged terrain, defined as any location with significant variation in elevation, provides numerous benefits to residents and visitors alike but may also impose barriers to travel and restrict economic development. ERS researchers developed two national representations of rugged terrain for census tracts. The Area Ruggedness Scale characterizes overall ruggedness in a given census tract area while the Road Ruggedness Scale characterizes ruggedness along roads to help study the impact of rugged terrain on travel by car.

In this webinar, ERS Regional Economist Elizabeth Dobis and Senior Geographer John Cromartie presented an overview of the data available from the Area and Road Ruggedness Scales data product, highlighted its uses, and demonstrated how to find the data on the ERS website.

Learn more about ERS Data Training Webinars.