I need to acquire a very detailed topographic map of Istanbul, Turkey without any markers. Do you know such sources who provides these kind of maps? I tried to Google it, but the results were far from satisfactory. I found world topography from NASA, some low resolution images that does not worth much. There are a lot for US but unfortunately I failed to find one for Istanbul.

Actually since I don't the details of GIS, I don't know the technical terms to explain what I am looking for. But here is what I'll use the map for: I am going to print 3D version of Istanbul using some 3D printer, and display visualizations on top of it using projector hooked on the ceiling. In this case, I assume that I need either a 3D point cloud, or a 2D height map where I can deduce 3D points after some processing.

  • Thanks for welcome. I edited my question, if you need to have more information please do tell me.
    – hevele
    Nov 17, 2014 at 21:49
  • Topographic Map Hike&Bike download.bbbike.org/osm/bbbike/Istanbul
    – Mapperz
    Nov 17, 2014 at 22:08
  • If this may be open data then the Open Data Stack Exchange may be the best place to ask.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:16

1 Answer 1


What you're after is a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) (wikipedia) which represents surface elevation as a single band raster (i.e. your 2D height map).

One starting point for getting DEM data is the USGS EarthExplorer data portal (http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/) which allows you to select a region and search for data. If you use the map to zoom to Istanbul and the area you're interested in click the Use Map button to select your entire map view for data. In the Data Sets tab expand out Digital Elevation and select ASTER GLOBAL DEM which is 30m resolution DEM data. You may have to stick some scenes together as I believe the tiles neatly bisect Istanbul, but it will hopefully be enough to get you started.

  • Thanks a lot, it worked. One last question, please forgive my ignorance about the subject. Once I downloaded the tif files, even though I can see DEM on website with low resolution, I cannot see anything on default photo viewer software (Picasa Image Viewer). Should I do any additional step?
    – hevele
    Nov 18, 2014 at 0:22
  • 2
    @MertToka No worries. Welcome to the field! I'd advise using QGIS to view the data - it's a single band tif file, and the values don't scale nicely for viewing in photo viewers (think of it as a 2d array of data). To get started take a look at the documentation on Loading Raster Data in QGIS
    – om_henners
    Nov 18, 2014 at 0:29

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