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

Digital elevation data for the United States and its territories are available through The National Map Downloader. Click the “Help” link at the top of the page for detailed instructions on how to find and download data. There is a separate site for The National Map 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.

In 2020, Digital Elevation Models were migrated to the Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG) format. 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 modifications because the underlying file format is a geotiff.

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

  • 2 arc-second (Alaska – 60 m) DEM - GeoTIFF
  • 1 arc-second (30 m) DEM – GeoTIFF
  • 1/3 arc-second (10 m) DEM - GeoTIFF
  • 1/9 arc-second (3 m) DEM - IMG
  • 5 meter DEM (Alaska only) - Varies
  • 1 meter DEM – GeoTIFF, IMG
  • 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

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