|Elevation Info Pages
By Nancy Rader, MnGeo
Looking for elevation data for Minnesota? With the release of increasing amounts of LiDAR data, the development of online viewers and web services, and plans for a new generation of U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, the choices are expanding! Use MnGeo’s new first-stop information page on Minnesota’s elevation data
to see your options.
The information is organized into several sections:
High-resolution elevation data products derived from LiDAR are becoming available for broad areas of Minnesota. A status map shows what is available, in-progress, or planned, and indicates which data is licensed or proprietary – some of the licensed/proprietary data is viewable online. [See the Spring 09 newsletter for more info on major new funding for LiDAR
.] Links are also provided to training materials on how to use LiDAR data.
Raster: Two primary sources of raster (grid-cell) elevation data are 30-meter DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) from the U.S. Geological Survey and extracts from the National Elevation Dataset (NED). USGS DEMs provide a consistent product across the state, whereas NED varies since it is created from the best resolution data available for any given area.
For projects that extend beyond Minnesota, links to national and global datasets are provided. Shaded relief maps for Minnesota are available in black-and-white and color.
Contour and point data: Elevation contours are available in digital format for parts of Minnesota; some contour data can be seen online, including 2-foot contours in the Red River Basin Viewer used during this past spring’s Red River flood. If you want to know the elevation of a particular point or place, you can either click on a map or search by name to find the answer.
Topographic maps: This section links to detailed information about USGS topographic maps, including USGS’s plans for the next generation of topo maps. It links to sites to view and download scanned topos (Digital Raster Graphics or DRGs), as well as places to obtain printed maps. It also covers quadrangle boundary data and coding systems for USGS topo maps at several scales.
General info: In this section, find links to inventories of existing and planned elevation data; committees actively promoting the development of accurate elevation data; and standards for LiDAR, DEMs, topo maps, and DRGs.
We plan to add an “Examples” section to illustrate the myriad ways that elevation data can be used.
Other themes currently available in the first-stop information series are:
If you know of other publicly available GIS data or maps not covered on these pages, if you have a project you’d like to suggest for the planned “examples” page, or if you have other questions, please contact Nancy Rader, firstname.lastname@example.org