**UPDATE 8/13/2011** – I have made a couple important updates. First, I have released a global version of the very popular 90-meter terrain map. I have also relaxed the licensing restrictions to allow for commercial use. See below for more details on both of these changes.
There are many ways to visualize the terrain and topography of the Earth’s surface on a map. Recent technological advances allow us to see the Earth’s surface in ways that have never been possible before. The terrain maps presented below were created with a desktop computer by combining over 150 gigabytes of elevation and imagery data from the sources listed below.
- Space Shuttle’s Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography
- NASA’s Blue Marble imagery
The resulting terrain maps show an amazing level of detail and allow us to see the surface of the Earth in a way that is not possible by viewing any of the source data sets on their own. In short, the SRTM and GTOPO elevation data was used to add hill shading to the Blue Marble imagery. The links below will allow you to download maps for various parts of the world. Quick warning, that the maps are very high resolution and some of them are very large downloads.
I have also processed several of these with Microsoft SeaDragon. This allows you to view them in their full resolution very easily in a web browser. Check out this post for more information.
I’ve also decided to ease my licensing limitation a bit and release the Global Terrain Maps under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Please credit the Google Earth Library and provide a hyperlink to http://www.gelib.com/global-terrain-map.htm with any online reuse or distribution of this map. In addition, you must include a citation of “ASTER GDEM is a product of METI and NASA” somewhere near the Version 2 map. Additional suggested citations and detailed copyright information are included in the readme.txt file that can be found in the folder containing the map tiles. The credit and citations can go in the end-credits for multimedia presentations.
The maps currently available are listed below:
Global Terrain Maps:
- Global Terrain Map – 580 MB GeoTIFF file at 1,000 meter resolution
- Global Terrain Map – 8 GB GeoTIFF split into 72 tiles at 250 meter resolution
- **NEW 8/13/2011** Global Terrain Map Version 2 - 52 GB GeoTIFF split into 648 tiles at 90 meter resolution
Country Terrain Maps
I have made individual maps for a limited number of countries. The Country Maps can be downloaded from this link.
United States Terrain Maps
Low resolution JPG files are linked below. Download high resolution JPG/GeoTIFF files from here