Looking for elevation data (contours or elevation models)? Go to our Elevation Data page.
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a type of remote sensing. It works like radar except it uses light or laser beams instead of radio waves. The time it takes for the laser to travel from the sensor (often mounted on a plane or helicopter) to the surface and back is used to calculate the distance to an object. Those pulses can penetrate non-solid surfaces (e.g.: forest canopy) and the resulting data appears as a point cloud.
LiDAR can be used to provide highly accurate elevation data. The data is collected as points with x, y & z values and these points can be used to create digital elevation models often in GeoTIF/TIFF format. LiDAR data is often in LAS format and may also be in overlapping ground and non-ground files, with the non-ground file showing surface features such as buildings, bridges, and trees.
Below is a list of LiDAR 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.
LiDAR data for Ottawa-Gatineau | Ontario | Canada | USA
- Ottawa LiDAR and LiDAR-derived Digital Elevation Model (2006-2015) - 1m resolution
- Available in both TIF files for raster DEM and LAS files for LiDAR
- Also Ottawa-Gatineau LiDAR (2006-2010)
- Freely available Digital Raster Acquisition Project Eastern Ontario (DRAPE) 2014 Classified LAS via Scholars GeoPortal
- "The raw point cloud from the overlapping flight lines were resampled to 50cm" (User Guide PDF)
- If you are a Carleton researcher and have a large area, please send us (firstname.lastname@example.org) a zipped shapefile of your area of interest and Scholars GeoPortal will do a custom clip. It may take 1-2 weeks depending on size of area requested.
Datasets listed below are freely available.
- Ottawa & eastern Ontario: Digital Raster Acquisition Project Eastern Ontario (DRAPE) 2014 Classified LAS
- Central Ontario Orthophotography Project (COOP) 2016 Classified LAS
- Ontario Raw Point Cloud (Lidar-Derived)
- Includes Brampton, Cochrane, Halton, Lake Erie, Peterborough, the GTA, etc.
- Southwestern Ontario Orthophotography Project (SWOOP) 2015 Classified LAS
For any of the above datasets, if you are a Carleton researcher and have a large area please send us (email@example.com) a zipped shapefile of your area of interest and we can arrange a custom clip. It may take 1-2 weeks depending on size of area requested.
Land Information Ontario (LIO) also provides LiDAR datasets free to the public. Details on classified and raw LiDAR dataset availability and how to access them is available on the Ontario GeoHub.
Free & Open LiDAR Data Sources in Canada is a great place to start, as is searching Canada's open data portal.
- New Brunswick - various locations via GeoNB
- Nova Scotia - various locations via NS Open Data Portal
- Montreal LiDAR aérien 2015
United States of America
- The United States Geological Survey (USGS) may have LiDAR point clouds available for your area
- search under Elevation Source Data (3DEP) in the National Map Viewer