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I'm writing a specialized tool in C to work with DEM data (typically GeoTIFF files, but one of the reasons I'm using libgdal is to leverage its ability to read multiple formats).

I'm able to open a GeoTIFF file and get at some of the metadata, but how do I get at the elevation data (e.g., given a pixel location, get the height) programmatically?

Perhaps I need to index into the raw raster data myself.

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You are looking for GDALRasterBand::RasterIO. For efficiency, if you are indexing multiple points, you will want to read data in blocks then index into the resulting array

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