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I have looked everywhere and can not find a tool to convert a geotiff file to a simple ascii elevation file... did I miss something?

thanks for any pointers!

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Have you encountered GDAL during your searches? – SS_Rebelious Apr 27 '13 at 22:41
Welcome to gis.SE. It usually makes it easier to provide useful answers if your question describes the specific circumstance that you are trying to address. For example, which file are you trying to convert? What type of format do you need (in your case, what is the "ascii elevation format" standard that you need, or what tool are you trying to import this into)? What have you already tried? What did you find? What didn't work the way you wanted it to? Obviously if you have really "looked everywhere" then you would have found many candidate tools, so a little detail might help us help you. – BradHards Apr 27 '13 at 23:17

You should be able to do this using the gdal_translate command line tool.

To convert to Arc/Info ASCII Grid:

gdal_translate -of AAIGrid elevation.tif elevation.asc

To convert to ASCII Gridded XYZ:

gdal_translate -of XYZ elevation.tif

Binary executables of the GDAL tools are available here:

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In GRASS GIS, the command does this conversion job. Instead of first importing the GeoTIFF file, you can simply register it beforehand with r.external in the GRASS GIS location (i.e. basically the needed project directory).

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For a practical workflow suggestion, see – markusN May 15 '15 at 7:41

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