NGP User Engagement Office

Alaska Mapping Initiative

The Alaska Mapping Initiative supports acquisition of new topographic map data and maps for Alaska. The new data and maps raise the accuracy of Alaska topographic mapping to levels found common in the conterminous United States.

A New Elevation Layer Is Being Acquired Statewide for Alaska

In 2011 the Alaska Congressional Delegation requested federal support in modernizing Alaska map data. Collection of a 5-meter resolution elevation grid for Alaska began in 2012, replacing the former 60-meter statewide elevation grid. Radar technology called IfSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) is used to collect the data because it can penetrate the clouds, smoke and haze that are often present in Alaska. The data are free to the public for any use. Alaska IfSAR acquisition supports the broader national 3D Elevation Program.

                                                Status of Alaska IfSAR Elevation Acquisition

Alaska IfSAR Status Map November 13, 2019

This graphic depicts the availability of IfSAR elevation data for Alaska on November 13, 2019.

(Credit: Tracy Fuller, USGS. Public domain.)

A New Digital US Topo Map Series Is Being Created Statewide for Alaska

'US Topo' is a digital topographic map format produced by USGS. 11,278 US Topo maps of Alaska will be created and published by USGS to provide statewide coverage of this new map series at 1:25,000 map scale. Each map is created using new contours generated from the new IfSAR elevation data. The maps are distributed for free download and use in a convenient PDF format that can be viewed on a computer or mobile device, or printed to paper. 

                                                       Status of Alaska US Topo Map Production

Alaska US Topo Map Production Status November 13, 2019.

This graphic depicts the status of available and planned US Topo maps for Alaska on November 13, 2019. 

(Credit: Tracy Fuller, USGS. Public domain.)

Downloading Alaska IfSAR Data

Two convenient online portals are available for downloading Alaska IfSAR data. The State of Alaska offers 5-meter IfSAR by tiles through their elevation portal found at USGS offers the 5-meter IfSAR data tiles, and also provides seamless post-processed elevation data at approximately 10-meter, 30-meter, and 60-meter post spacing. These data can be found at Bulk download is also available from USGS, and instructions can be found at

Downloading US Topo Maps

Alaska US Topo maps are available for free download at Paper copies can be ordered for a fee from the USGS store located online at

Terrestrial Hydrography Updates

USGS is supporting the update of terrestrial hydrography data (surface water, such as lakes and rivers) for Alaska. The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) for Alaska are being updated through collaborative Federal and State partnerships to meet accuracy and content specifications suitable for 1:25,000-scale mapping. IfSAR elevation data serves a critical role in the update process. Updated NHD and WBD data are used to create important watershed characteristic data under the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) program. All of these efforts will eventually support the development of an operational Water Model for Alaska, and support numerous other critical hydrography applications. The Cook Inlet and Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) watersheds are completely updated through NHDPlus HR, and the Copper River watershed is in development.

Alask Mat-su Watershed Relief and Hydrography

This graphic shows the extent of the Mat-Su Watershed and displays the terrain and hydrography of the basin.

(Credit: Kacy Krieger, University of Alaska Anchorage. Public domain.)




Tracy Joe Fuller

Alaska Mapping Program Manager & UE Elevation Focus Area Coordinator
NGP User Engagement Office
Phone: 303-601-7652

Brian Wright

National Map Liaison AK
NGP User Engagement Office
Phone: 907-201-0113