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

  • Ottawa 3D surface (part of the Ottawa 3D Buildings data package) Resource available to Carleton University students, faculty and staff only
  • Ottawa LiDAR-derived Digital Surface Model (2006-2015) - 1m resolution Resource available to Carleton University students, faculty and staff only
    • Available in both TIF files for raster DEM and LAS files for LiDAR
  • Ottawa-Gatineau Digital Elevation Models - 25cm resolution Resource available to Carleton University students, faculty and staff only
  • Freely available Digital Raster Acquisition Project for the East (DRAPE) 2014 DEM & 2014 DSM - 2m resolution
  • Freely available Québec (including Gatineau) - LiDAR produits dérivés 1-2m resolution
    • Easiest way to access (as of January 2022): Forêt Ouverte which is mostly in French
    • Click the Menu button at top left, then Catalog
    • Select LiDAR
    • In the "Index et téléchargement" section, find product(s) and click the + symbol to add a download index grid
    • Click on relevant locations in the index to download ("Accéder")
  • Freely available: see High Resolution Digital Elevation Model (HRDEM) - CanElevation Series (2-5m) under Canada, below

Ontario

Contours

DEMs & DTMs

Canada

Contours

DEMs & DSMs

Looking for a DEM for all of Canada? The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has a 1km Elevation dataset that's seamless for all of North America (look for it under Reference layers in the map). For other resolutions or smaller regions:

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
  • 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)
    • We recommend following the instructions for CDEM/CDSM via the Index of Geospatial Products and selecting HRDEM under Elevations
    • 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.)
    • You can also download the KMZ (Google Earth) file from the above link to both view available areas and download the desired tiles
  • DMTI Clutter and and Digital Elevation Models - 30m and 90m resolution / 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 (available upon request gis@carleton.ca)
  • Provincial and territorial datasets:
    • Alberta - Various LiDAR and LiDAR-derived elevation datasets; requires free registration
    • Manitoba - 1:20,000; requires free registration
    • New Brunswick - 1m DEM
    • Nova Scotia - 20m resolution; make sure to read the downloading instructions
    • Québec - LiDAR produits dérivés 1-2m resolution
      • Easiest way to access (as of January 2022): Forêt Ouverte which is mostly in French
      • Click the Menu button at top left, then Catalog
      • Select LiDAR
      • In the "Index et téléchargement" section, find product(s) and click the + symbol to add a download index grid
      • Click on relevant locations in the index to download ("Accéder")
    • Yukon - variety of resolutions

United States of America

Contours

DEMs

International

Contours

DEMs

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