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. [...]
• 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 –
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (with fallback of email@example.com)
USGS / NGTOC
1400 Independence Rd.
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
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)