Looking for bathymetric (underwater elevation/depth) data? Go to our Bathymetry Data page.

Need LiDAR (point cloud) data? Go to our LiDAR page.

Elevation data generally comes in two formats: contour lines or digital elevation models (DEMs). Contour lines are the elevation lines you often see on topographic maps and they are generally measured in feet or metres above sea level. DEMs are raster datasets that have pixels like a digital image, except that each pixel contains an elevation value for the land area (e.g. 900m2 in a DEM with a 30m resolution) that the pixel covers. It is possible to create DEMs from contours and contours from DEMs using GIS software. 

  • DEMs: digital elevation models represent the land or "bare earth" (no trees, buildings, etc.)
  • DSMs: digital surface models represent the reflective surface of the earth (bare earth plus trees, buildings)
  • DTMs: digital terrain models are either synonymous with DEMs or comprised of a network of vector points instead of a continuous raster
  • Further details here and here

Below is a list of elevation datasets by geography, beginning with Ottawa-Gatineau and moving up to the entire world. Those available only to Carleton students, faculty, and staff are marked with a Carleton logo. All others are freely available to anyone.

Elevation data for Ottawa-Gatineau | Ontario | Canada | USA & North America | International


Ottawa-Gatineau

Contours

DEMs & DSMs

Ontario

Contours

DEMs & DTMs

Canada

Contours

DEMs & DSMs

Dataset Coverage Resolution
ArcticDEM All land north of 60° (NT, NU, YT) 2-5m
Canada DEM Canada 30m
Canada DSM Canada 20m
High Resolution DEM Parts of Canada 2-5m
Elevation 2007 North America (seamless) 1km
Provincial/territorial datasets AB, MB, NB, NS, QC, YT  varies
  • ArcticDEM - 2m to 5m resolution
    • Will "encompass all land area north of 60° north latitude" and includes Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut regions
    • A workflow for individual tiles:
      • Download the shapefile Tile Index
      • Unzip it and open in ArcMap or another GIS software
      • Add a basemap of your choice and zoom into your area of interest
      • Using the Identify tool, click on a tile in your area of interest
      • There will be a file URL to the data for that tile (double-compressed .tar.gz file) in the attribute table
      • Click the URL and the data should download
      • Uncompress/extract the .gz file, then uncompress/extract the .tar file
  • Canadian Digital Elevation Model (CDEM) - 1:50,000 / 30m resolution and 1:250,000, and Canadian Digital Surface Model Mosaic (CDSM), 20m resolution
  • High Resolution Digital Elevation Model (HRDEM) - CanElevation Series - 2m resolution (south) / 5m (north of forest line)
    • Includes digital terrain model (DTM) and digital surface model (DSM) generated from LiDAR data
    • Only some areas of Canada are covered (Nunavut; areas of the Northwest Territories; Gatineau; southern Manitoba; areas of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, etc.)
    • We recommend downloading the KMZ (Google Earth) file which makes it easiest to both view available areas and download the desired tiles
    • You can also follow the instructions for CDEM/CDSM, above, and select HRDEM under Elevations
  • DMTI Clutter and and Digital Elevation Models - 30m and 90m resolution / 1:50,000 and 1:250,000Resource available to Carleton University students, faculty and staff only
  • Provincial and territorial datasets:
  • Want DEMs for all of Canada? The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has a 1km Elevation dataset that's seamless for all of North America

United States of America

Contours

DEMs

International

Contours

DEMs

Content last updated: September 18, 2018