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13 Free Global DEM Data Sources

13 Free Global DEM Data Sources: Digital Elevation Models and Terrain Data


Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) offer a captivating 3D representation of our planet’s diverse landscapes. From the towering Himalayas to the vast plains of Africa, these models provide invaluable insights for researchers, environmentalists, and map enthusiasts alike. If you’re eager to explore the world’s topography without a hefty price tag, here’s your definitive guide to the best free global DEM and terrain data sources available.

Interested in what’s happening in the geospatial world? Listen to our podcast!

1. NASADEM 30m

Overview: An evolution of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), NASADEM boasts enhanced height accuracy and broader data coverage, achieved by reprocessing the original SRTM radar signal data.

  • Coverage: Land areas between 60° N and 56° S latitude, encompassing about 80% of Earth’s total landmass.

2. SRTM 30m

Overview: Since its significant update in 2015, the SRTM dataset has been available with a 30-meter resolution, providing a detailed representation of Earth’s topography.

  • Coverage: Global

3. SRTM30 plus / SRTM15 plus

Overview: This dataset offers a comprehensive view of both land and underwater terrains, combining topography and bathymetry. Useful download tool

  • Coverage: Global

4. Viewfinder Panoramas

Overview: A holistic view of Earth’s terrain, offering global coverage cleaned and combined from various sources.

  • Coverage: Global

5. EarthEnv-DEM90

Overview: A fusion of the CGIAR and ASTER datasets, this 90m worldwide dataset offers a consistent elevation grid spanning most of the globe.

  • Coverage: Approximately 91% of the globe

6. AW3D30 (ALOS World 3D – 30m)

Overview: Developed by JAXA, this dataset provides a 30-meter resolution digital surface model, offering a detailed view of the Earth’s surface.

  • Coverage: Global

7. GTOPO30

Overview: A pioneering global digital elevation model by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with a 30-arcsecond resolution.

  • Coverage: Global

8. GMTED2010

Overview: An improvement over GTOPO30, this dataset by the USGS offers multiple resolutions for a detailed topographical view.

  • Coverage: Global

9. EU-DEM

Overview: Representing the first product of the Copernicus program, this dataset offers detailed topography of Europe.

  • Coverage: Europe

10. MERIT DEM

Overview: A global DEM dataset that corrects errors in other DEMs, offering a more accurate representation of the Earth’s surface.

  • Coverage: Global

11. TanDEM-X

Overview: A collaboration between DLR and Airbus, this dataset provides a 12-meter resolution DEM.

  • Coverage: Global

12. ETOPO1

Overview: A 1-arc minute global relief model by NOAA that integrates land topography and ocean bathymetry.

  • Coverage: Global

13. GEBCO

Overview: A combined topography and bathymetry dataset, GEBCO is a joint project between the IHO and UNESCO’s IOC.

  • Coverage: Global


Dataset NameDescriptionCoverageResolutionLink
NASADEM 30mEnhanced version of SRTM with improved height accuracy.60° N to 56° S latitude30mNASADEM
SRTM 30mDetailed representation of Earth’s topography.Global30mSRTM
SRTM30 plus / SRTM15 plusCombined topography and bathymetry dataset.Global30 seconds (1 km)SRTM30 plus / SRTM15 plus
Viewfinder PanoramasHolistic view of Earth’s terrain.GlobalVariesViewfinder Panoramas
EarthEnv-DEM90Fusion of CGIAR and ASTER datasets.~91% of the globe90mEarthEnv
AW3D3030-meter resolution digital surface model by JAXA.Global30mAW3D30
GTOPO3030-arcsecond resolution model by USGS.Global30-arcsecondGTOPO30
GMTED2010Improved version of GTOPO30 with multiple resolutions.GlobalVariesGMTED2010
EU-DEMDetailed topography of Europe.EuropeN/AEU-DEM
MERIT DEMCorrected global DEM dataset.GlobalN/AMERIT DEM
TanDEM-X12-meter resolution DEM by DLR and Airbus.Global12mTanDEM-X
ETOPO1Global relief model by NOAA.Global1-arc minuteETOPO1
GEBCOCombined topography and bathymetry dataset by IHO and UNESCO’s IOC.GlobalVariesGEBCO

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About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.