What types of elevation datasets are available, what formats do they come in, and where can I download them?

Digital elevation data are available through The National Map Download Client. Click the “How To” link at the top of the viewer for detailed instructions on how to find and download data. There is a seperate site for Services.

The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, and elevation source (lidar) and associated datasets.

During the first half of 2020, Digital Elevation Models are being migrated to a new data delivery format called Cloud Optimized Geotiff. This change improves product processing time and storage, and supports new and evolving cloud processing capabilities. Legacy software can read the file with no additional modifictions because the underlying file format is a geotiff.

Standard elevation products are available in the following resolutions and formats:

  • 1 arc second (30 m) DEM – GeoTIFF
  • 1 meter DEM – GeoTIFF, IMG
  • 1/3 arc-second (10 m) DEM - GeoTIFF
  • 1/9 arc-second (3 m) DEM - IMG
  • 2 arc-second (Alaska – 60 m) DEM - GeoTIFF
  • 5 meter DEM (Alaska only) - Varies
  • Contours (1:24,000 scale) – Shapefile, FileGDB

Elevation source data are available in the following formats:

  • DEM Source (OPR) – Varies
  • Ifsar Digital Surface Model (DSM) – GeoTIFF
  • Ifsar Orthorectified Radar Image (ORI) – GeoTIFF
  • Lidar Point Cloud (LPC) – LAS, LAZ

Learn more:  How can I download 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) standard DEM data in bulk?


Related Content

Filter Total Items: 5

Where can I find a 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM status map and get information on recent updates?

Status maps showing 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) product availability and recent updates are on the 3DEP Product Availability site. Areas containing recent updates are refreshed on a monthly basis. Download spatial metadata shapefiles showing the updated areas for each product from the 3DEP Product Metadata site. Acquire updated products through...

What sources of data are used to produce the standard 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEMs?

3DEP standard DEMs are produced from the highest quality elevation sources within the data holdings of the USGS National Geospatial Program. As of 2015, about 25% of the conterminous U.S. coverage is from high resolution lidar and photogrammetric source, while the remainder of the conterminous U.S. and Hawaii coverage is from USGS topographic map...

Is there a difference between 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM data and lidar data?

Yes, lidar data are represented as a cloud of variably spaced point locations (x,y,z) of any terrestrial target reflecting the laser pulse. In addition to bare-earth, the point cloud will typically include buildings, trees, towers, and powerlines. 3DEP DEMs are raster surfaces of bare-earth elevation values sampled at uniform horizontal increments...

How accurate are elevations generated by the Elevation Point Query Service in The National Map?

The Elevation Point Query Service in The National Map returns elevations that are interpolated from the 1/3 arc-second 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM dataset. Spot elevations are not official and do not represent precisely measured ground surveyed values. Spot elevations derived for a specific location using the Elevation Point Query Service...

What are digital elevation models (DEMs)?

USGS Digital elevation models (DEMs) are arrays of regularly spaced elevation values referenced horizontally either to a Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection or to a geographic coordinate system. The grid cells are spaced at regular intervals along south to north profiles that are ordered from west to east. The USGS acquires bare-earth...
Filter Total Items: 4
Date published: October 23, 2019

USGS Digital Elevation Models (DEM) Switching to New Distribution Format

In support of ongoing efforts to provide efficient, cloud ready, open data formats, the U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Program is announcing plans to migrate its 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) Digital Elevation Models (DEM) to a new data delivery format called Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG) during the first half of fiscal year 2020.

Date published: February 7, 2019

USGS 3DEP Lidar Point Cloud Now Available as Amazon Public Dataset

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is excited to announce the availability of a new way to access and process lidar point cloud data from the 3DEP repository.

Date published: August 8, 2018

New Elevation Map Service Available From the USGS 3D Elevation Program

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) announces the availability of a new dynamic map service.

Date published: May 23, 2018

Keeping Current with Map Services Made Easier

The National Map provides a new Simple Notification Service and has new URLs for some of its thematic cartographic map services.

Filter Total Items: 4
Lidar-derived Digital Elevation Model over Zion National Park, Utah
December 31, 2105

Lidar-derived Digital Elevation Model over Zion National Park, Utah

Lidar-derived Digital Elevation Model over Zion National Park, Utah

May 11, 2018

New 3D Model of the Drained Crater at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

During an overflight on May 11, we collected thermal images of the crater at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and created an updated 3D model of the crater geometry. The collapse on April 30 produced a large cavity, with the deepest point roughly 350 m (1150 feet) below the crater rim.

November 30, 2017

Majuro Atoll — Topobathymetric Model

This video is of is a three-dimensional (3D) view of the Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands topobathymetric model which consists of topography (land elevation) and bathymetry (water depth). This video shows the importance of high-resolution, detailed topobathymetric models because the highest natural elevation for the Majuro Atoll is only three meters. This

video thumbnail: Elevation
April 30, 2012


The National Elevation Dataset (NED) is the primary elevation data product produced and distributed by the USGS National 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The NED provides seamless raster elevation data of the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the island territories. The NED is derived from diverse source data sets that are processed to a specification with a