We frequently get users call us asking where to find sources of free topographic data. Lucky for us, we live in a world that has vast amounts of this data available online, and a significant chunk of it is free to access and download - if you know where to look that is! So please find summarized below some of our favorite sources to download free DEMS, elevation grids, and LiDAR topographic data:
By far, the easiest method is to use Surfer's Grid from Server tool. This tool has a direct link to the NASA SRTM Global 90m elevation grids. Simply specify the coordinates for the grid area you want in lat/long, and click OK. Easy! If you are looking for some more high-resolution options, check out the sites below:
USGS Earth Explorer
This USGS tool allows you to download topographic data from a multitude of different sources. They include data from NASA's SRTM digital topographic data, GTOPO30 and Aster Global DEMs, as well as LiDAR and other radar data.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a thorough collection of worldwide Multi-beam and Single-beam offshore bathymetric data. With so many surveys done across the world, you're sure to find some data in your area of interest! All of this is available through an easy-to-use online map interface.
JAXA ALOS World 3D
As well as EarthExplorer mentioned above, there are growing numbers of free sources of LiDAR data. LiDAR is a fantastic type of extremely high-resolution topographic data, and it often comes with data point classification information that allows you to easily manipulate your maps and narrow down specific subsets of data.
The National Map
This is the place to download data from the USGS 3DEP project. The 3DEP project is a LiDAR and IfSAR dataset covers the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories, and is a fantastic source of topographic data.
US Interagency Elevation Inventory
Have you found any great sources of free elevation data? Let us know!
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