In October 2011, 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?

  • 2
    +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, 2011 at 23:42
  • 2
    I love customer-facing systems which have been designed by technical people. Dec 16, 2011 at 2:59
  • 5
    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! Dec 16, 2011 at 3:06
  • NASA has closed Reverb. I also need to download all tiles of Aster GDEM v2 for the whole earth coverage. But i don't get to find any way. Is there any other possible ways? I am also familiar with coding based approach with python. Mar 18, 2019 at 12:18
  • If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. - From Review
    – BERA
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:39

6 Answers 6


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.


Don't discount old fashioned snail mail (updated for 2016, emphasis added):

There is no charge for bulk delivery of 3DEP data, but you will be required to provide the hard drive(s) needed to store the data and postage for us to send them back to you. The data are also available in several different formats (ArcGrid, Gridfloat or IMG) [...]

We also offer Original Product Resolution (OPR) Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). OPR DEMs are preserved in the original post spacing (horizontal resolution) and spatial reference systems in which they were acquired by the USGS. [...]. At this time, OPR data includes only ifsar-source DEMs in Alaska, and high-resolution DEMs incorporated into the 3DEP since April 2014. [...]

Please note:

• We cannot process the request unless we have the correct number of drives, a listed Job ID Number , and return shipping account number or pre-paid shipping labels. [...]

• Turn-around times will depend on our current workload at the time an order is placed, but in most cases you will receive the data in 1 – 2 weeks.

The data resolutions available are 2, 1, 1/3, & 1/9 arc-second, and 1 meter (where available). To order everything except 1m allocate approximately ~2TB of drive space. ('Varies' was given for 1m product.)

The contact address is cpeder@usgs.gov (with fallback of tnminfo@usgs.gov)

1400 Independence Rd.
MS 960
Rolla, MO 65401
Phone: 1-800-252-4547, 573-308-3949

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”


Apparently Japan Space Systems distribution of Aster products discontinued as of March 2016.

Update: The simplest route is probably to just bypass the US site get it from Japan Space Systems: http://gdem.ersdac.jspacesystems.or.jp/index.jsp

Selection can be made from the Search page by clicking tiles, drawing a polygon on screen, uploading a shapefile and entering coordinates. Max tile selection is 1000. The first 100 tiles can be downloaded right away (depending on how many other users are also doing so; 16 max), and the rest are queued up for processing when there are system resources free. You have 72 hours to download from the queue before it is cleared.

Registration is free, though lacking in some of the features we've come to take for granted, like "that username is already taken" and "forgot password?". I suggest using your email address for username.

(Thanks to Ben Discoe for the tip: http://vterrain.org/Elevation/global.html)

  • 1
    @RagiYaserBurhum, thanks for the checkmark. Which part(s) of the answer were correct for you? (and did you get the entire dataset?) Jan 12, 2012 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, 2013 at 1:31
  • @Simbamangu, see update, go to Japan. May 21, 2015 at 20:09
  • $1000 dollars for a 250 GB drive is "an incredibly good price"? Apr 14, 2016 at 1:54
  • @AhmedFasih, it's a good price for the data and convenience, in 2011. The drive media is almost irrelevant. On the other hand if you're doing it for yourself and your time is free, then by all means go the long way; that's what the script is for. ;-) Apr 18, 2016 at 23:11

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).

  • 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 Jul 3, 2014 at 1:21

I struggled with this too at Reverb. But NASA says:

If you need to order more than 2000 granules, please contact our support team (reverb-support@echo.nasa.gov).

I contacted them, and after a little bit of back and forth, they sent me 12 download links!

  • Just did this: emailed them with my username and the query URL (I made a query covering the whole earth resulting in 22,702 granules). Got back twelve emails, each containing URLs that allow you to download 2000 granules in a single ZIP (that seemed unreliable) as well as the directory containing 2000 granules' ZIP and XML files. Apr 18, 2016 at 13:59
  • And wget -l 1 -r -nc $URL for each URL does the trick! Apr 18, 2016 at 14:18

Looks like there is now a "Download All Granules" option once you locate the dataset (search for ASTER GDEM at reverb, http://reverb.echo.nasa.gov/reverb, as noted above).

enter image description here


Global Mapper has the data processed and optimized as global mapper grid (GMG) XYZ Tiles. They load super quick in global mapper and since standard tile layer it can be scraped and then batch converted to any derivative format. I downloaded zoom level 13 for the world. Batch converted that to gridded geotiff tiles 512x512 then made map catalog. I wrote a tool to encode elevation into RGB PNG TILES using the Mapzen Terrarium Spec. My leaflet and open layers maps return spot elevation and terrain profile view graph and threeJS Shows 3D representation

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