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On October, NASA released the new ASTER GDEM global dataset (30m) and I have been wanting to get my hands on it. The only problem is that it takes forever to download and I do not feel like drawing tiny little boxes for the entire world.

Is there are any place I can download the whole thing from? Scripts are welcomed :)

PS: If you know of a better worldwide (royalty free) elevation dataset, I would love to hear about it, too.

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+1 for "I do not feel like drawing tiny little boxes for the entire world". Their download process sounds nightmarish. What the heck is a granule? :p –  blah238 Dec 15 '11 at 23:42
I love customer-facing systems which have been designed by technical people. –  Stephen Lead Dec 16 '11 at 2:59
I loved how it has a tutorial on how to download the data echo.nasa.gov/reference/reverbastergdem_tutorial.htm Still, What's wrong with a good ol' listing of files that I can scrape and download. Or at the very least one FTP site. Or if that is an issue, please just throw it as a torrent! –  Ragi Yaser Burhum Dec 16 '11 at 3:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A few years ago I cobbled together Backdoor to US Seamless National Elevation Data which may or may not be still relevant. The nutshell is:


where this is your region of interest north,south and east,west in decimal degrees.


and this is data set to choose from, in this case “National Elevation Dataset Alaska (NED) 2 Arc Second”


However don't discount old fashioned snail mail:

“You can order the entire U.S. in 30 meter resolution in either ArcGrid or GridFloat format. The data will be provided on a 250 GB external drive at a total price of $1005.00. This includes shipping and handling. This will cover the Conterminous U.S., Alaska (at 60 meter res), Hawaii, and the territorial islands. We no longer provide this on CD or DVD media.”

An incredibly good price in my opinion.

The contact address is webmapping@usgs.gov

Customer Service/Webmapping
Data and Applications Support Department
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) at
U.S. Geological Survey - EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science)
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001

Phone: 1-800-252-4547
Fax: (605)-594-6589

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Thanks for the answer. Upvoted –  Ragi Yaser Burhum Jan 10 '12 at 22:58
@RagiYaserBurhum, thanks for the checkmark. Which part(s) of the answer were correct for you? (and did you get the entire dataset?) –  matt wilkie Jan 12 '12 at 5:29
This doesn't seem to work for areas outside the USA, unless there's an option I'm missing? –  Simbamangu May 13 '13 at 1:31

My suggestions would be to utilize reverb at http://reverb.echo.nasa.gov/reverb/. First register if you have not already done so. In the search box type ASTER GDEM and Select Dataset --- note if you want a particular area this is the point where you select the box range in the map window to the left (very useful feature!).

ASTER GDEM Global Digital Elevation Model V002

Select "Search for Granules"

Now begins the tedious part where there are over 22,000 ASTER GDEM tiles that cover the globe however, the website only list 400 per page where there is an 'Add All on Page' button but no Add All option (i.e. 50 + pages to go through + load time).

Press the View Items in Cart (Shopping Cart), press the 'ALL' button that will pop up a new message 'All Items on Page Selected. Select All n Items in Cart'. Click on that link. At the bottom of the page select 'Order Selected' (no direct download is available).

Follow the appropriate steps including your order details (its free no worries) and on the following page select the 'Order Option - Not Set and Required' button to state the reason for the download (remember to use the apply to all function).

You will then receive an email entitled CM SHARED with directions for ftp pull on your selected data. From my limited experience, this usually takes approximatley one working day. Essentially the ftp and pull directory to connect will look like:

ftp://e4ftl01.cr.usgs.gov # Ftp Server
PullDir/0302595257dmDDFH  # Pull Directory Example

This provides really fast download (unlike some other ftp sites Global Land Cover Facility) especially comming from Europe (5mb/s).

Sorry for the long answer to a rather simple procedure but as I write this I am actually downloading ASTER GDEMv2 data myself for the entire continous USA. Note ASTER GDEMv2 is not void filled (although improvements have been made), unlike others like SRTM V4.1 from http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/ at 90m resolution.



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Thanks for the answer. –  Ragi Yaser Burhum Jan 10 '12 at 22:59

I followed the instructions from NASA: http://www.echo.nasa.gov/reference/astergdem_tutorial.htm

and the trick is to search by granule ID (data block), f.e. %N00% and wait for the confirmation email to arrive (I tried other methods, but they were too painful).

Hope this is useful, Gijs

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Reverb lets you add up to 2000 items per cart, which makes it 7 and a bit orders, but the trick is to figure out how to search for 2000 at a time. I tried %N% ad got the entire 14926 Granule Set returned, but I cannot yet figure out any way to subset them in chunks of 2000 –  Mark C Jul 3 '14 at 1:21

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